By Ovunc Kutlu
President Donald Trump said Friday he is ready to increase tariffs on goods that the U.S. imports from China to $500 billion.
"I'm ready to go to 500," he told the CNBC network in an exclusive interview. "I'm not doing this for politics, I'm doing this to do the right thing for our country. We have been ripped off by China for a long time," he said.
The U.S. imported $505 billion in Chinese goods in 2017, while China imported $130 billion in American products, according to the Commerce Department.
That made China the country that the U.S. has the biggest trade deficit with $375 billion last year.
So far, Washington imposed $34 billion worth of tariffs on China, with $16 billion to come at a later point, and also said it would assess 10 percent tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth Chinese goods.
Yet, Trump said he did not introduce tariffs "out of any ill will towards China," according to CNBC.
"I don't want them to be scared. I want them to do well,” Trump said. “I really like President Xi [Jinping] a lot, but it was very unfair," he said.
Trump said Chinese officials, whom he did not identify, told him that nobody from past U.S. administrations would ever complain about trade relations between the two countries until he came into office.
"Now you're more than complaining. We don't like what you're doing," Trump said officials told him.
Trump also said the U.S. is "being taken advantage of" on trade and monetary policy.
Earlier, he took a swipe at the Federal Reserve by writing on Twitter that the central bank's tightening monetary policy "hurts all that we have done" in economy.
In addition, he criticized the Fed for "taking away our big competitive edge" by raising interest rates as the American dollar is getting stronger -- hindering the volume of goods the U.S. could export.
Trump told CNBC he is not happy about the Fed's rate hikes, and argued that every time the economy and the stock market improves "they [the Fed] want to raise rates again."