WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) - Former President Donald Trump said he might impose a tariff on Chinese goods of more than 60% if elected, signaling an increasingly hawkish tone against the top supplier of goods to the US.

Asked about a Washington Post report that he was considering a flat 60% tariff on Chinese goods imports, Trump said “no, I would say maybe it’s going to be more than that” in an interview on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures.

Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, rejected criticism that the moves would start a trade war, saying that he “did great with China with everything” during his presidency.

The US imposed multiple rounds of tariffs on Chinese goods during the Trump administration, “amounting to an $80 billion tax increase on $380 billion worth of imports,” according to the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based research group. China retaliated with tariffs on US goods imports.

The Post report on Jan. 27 sparked currency hedges by traders bracing for any market turbulence that policies under a second Trump presidency could set off.

Trump also made light of his comment at a Fox News town hall in Iowa in December where he suggested he’d be a dictator “for day one” if he were elected to a second term in November. Asked about the comment on Sunday’s show, he said it was meant to signal immediate action on the US-Mexico border and fossil fuels.

“It’s very simple,” he said. “I’m going to close the border and we’re going to drill, baby, drill. That’s all. And then after that, I’m not going to be a dictator. Now, that was said in jest.”

Photo from Reuters