President Donald Trump said China is paying a very big price for taking advantage of the United States on trade for many years, and his administration is taking the toughest action ever to confront chronic abuse from Beijing.

Speaking at the third annual Made in America product showcase on Monday, July 15, President Trump said the Chinese economy has had the worst year in 27 years, partly due to the effects of tariffs imposed by the United States.

Data from China’s statistics bureau released earlier in the day indicated the world’s second largest economy grew 6.2 percent in the second quarter of 2019, down from 6.4 percent in the first quarter and recording the lowest growth since 1992.

“I’m not looking for that,” President Trump said. “But we had a deal with China, and they decided not to make that deal. They said, ‘Let’s renegotiate.’ I said, ‘No, thank you.’ And we put tariffs on China—very big tariffs on China.”

In order to restore economic independence and reawaken industrial might for the United States, the president said his administration has been standing up for the American worker by placing tariffs on foreign aluminum and foreign steel, and now for the farmers by imposing taxes on China.

“For our farmers, we’ve taken in tens of billions of dollars in tariffs from China. But China stopped dealing with our farmers,” he said.

Over the past year, the United States has slapped a 25 percent tariff on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods in what he promised in the presidential campaign in 2016 on reducing the trade deficit with China.

“We’re taking the toughest-ever action to confront China’s chronic trade abuse. They were doing numbers on us for many years,” President Trump said.

President Trump speaks at the Annual Made in America Product Showcase on July 15, 2019. (Screenshot/White House)

He shifted to Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden, saying his competitor had not done anything to fight China on trade during eight years in the Obama administration.

“And we did that, right at the beginning. And now they’re paying a very big price, and hopefully we’ll see what happens,” President Trump said about China.

A trade war, perhaps, has taken a toll on President Trump’s friendship with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

“President Xi is a friend of mine. He’s a good friend. I used to say he’s a good friend of mine,” President Trump said. “We’re probably not quite as close now. But I have to be for our country.  He’s for China and I’m for the USA, and that’s the way it’s got to be. And this should have never been allowed to happen.”

President Trump said the United States has been losing $400 billion or $500 billion a year to China, excluding about $300 billion in intellectual property theft and loss.

“So, essentially we rebuilt China. They’ve done a great job,” the president said, but adding “I’m not going to take it away. And I don’t blame China. I blame our past presidents and our past leaders for allowing a situation like that – so ridiculous – to happen”.