[The Wall Street Journal's Bob Davis conducted a phone interview with Donald Trump on November 26, 2018. From the editor's note on the transcript: "Here is the lightly edited transcript of that interview. Small portions of the interview have been excluded from this transcript that were off the record or that have been withheld for future Wall Street Journal articles." No audio was made available.] Hi, Bob. How are you? Good. Good. Thank you. Thank you so much for calling. I really appreciate it. Absolutely. Absolutely. What's going on? So we're working on, you know, China stories. That's basically all I've done this past year. First, I just wanted to say I'm taping this to make sure I don't screw up the quotes and so on. That OK with you? Oh, sure. Go ahead. OK. So, I mean, to start with, so this is something you campaigned on, being tough on China. It's been going on for two years. Well, China and others, because we – Yeah, yeah. Yeah. We've been -- we've been taken advantage of by many countries all over the world, not China. The EU has been a disaster for the United States. Mexico and Canada have been, you know, very, very hard on the United States. NAFTA was one of the worst trade deals ever made. Right, right. But this -- we're focusing this one on China. No, I'm just saying but it's not just China. It's others also. But that's OK, I understand. Go ahead, Bob. OK. So from this two-year period -- you've been negotiating now with China for two years. What do you take away? What's the sort of main takeaway for you from this big trade fight in these negotiations that you've had with President Xi and with the rest of the -- you know, the Chinese government over these issues? It's been such a terrible one-way street with China having -- with a deficit of at a minimum $375 billion a year, and it's for a long time. But we have literally helped rebuild China with the kind of money that we lose on trade, and I just decided about a year ago that I just won't do that. I respect President Xi. As you probably hear, I have a very good relationship with him. I spoke to him a week ago. We're going to be meeting. We'll see if something can happen. What can you say about the possibility of a deal? It all began with the World Trade Organization, a disaster. A disaster. I would actually say that was perhaps -- I say NAFTA was the worst trade deal ever made. I would say only -- only -- challenged by the WTO. That has been -- if you look at China, China's ascension was the day that the WTO was signed. It's a one-sided deal. They were treated as a -- you know, as a growing country, as a -- what would you say? How would you say that? Developing country. Developing. Developing. A developing nation. And no -- and it's never come off. They still -- it's ridiculous. The World Trade Organization is absolutely unfair to the United States, and they're going to have to change their ways. They're going to have to change. But what about – But that's when China ascended. That's when China -- you can look at -- they were -- they were flatlining for many years, and then they went like a rocket ship up the day they signed the World Trade – Do you think that -- I know the Chinese -- the Chinese No. 1 goal in this G-20 is to get you to delay or suspend that 25 percent on January 1. Do you -- are you willing to do that? I think it would be highly unlikely. And why is that? Why shouldn't they -- why shouldn't China rip off the United States if we have people allowing that to happen? And whether it was President Obama or preceding presidents, they all allowed it to happen. You know, we don't even have a deal with -- I don't know if you know. We really don't have a deal with China. They do whatever they want. Yeah, but that's the whole point, though, right? I mean, whether you can craft a deal with China. Do you think that's possible? No. No, no, no. What I say is they did whatever they wanted and people let them do that. As opposed – Oh, no, I -- right, right. As opposed to stop it. Yeah, no, I get that. But again, you know, you're president. You're able -- you know, it's your turn, basically. So, I mean, there – So but what I'm saying is that I am very happy with what's going on right now. We've only used a small portion of what we have to use because I have another $267 billion to go if I want, and then I'm also able to raise interest rates. And we have money that is pouring right now, pouring – When you say interest rates, do you mean -- do you mean tariffs, as opposed to interest rates? I'm sorry, the rate, the 25 percent rate – Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK. Without even doing any more. Yeah. We have money that is pouring into our treasury right now, and on January 1 it'll become much more so. And here's the story: If we don't make a deal, then I'm going to put the $200 -- and it's really $67 -- billion additional on at an interest rate between 10 and 25 depending. Including even iPhones and laptops and things that people would know? Maybe. Maybe. Depends on what the rate is. I mean, I can make it 10 percent and people could stand that very easily. But if you read that recent poll that came out, we're only being -- most of this is being -- the brunt of it is being paid by China. You saw that. Right. Right. I mean, well, you know – On the tariffs. It depends, like, who – Look, I happen to be a tariff person. Yeah. I happen to be a tariff person because I'm a smart person, OK? We have been ripped off so badly by people coming in and stealing our wealth. The steel industry has been rebuilt in a period of a year because of what I've done. We have a vibrant steel industry again, and soon it'll be very vibrant. You know, they're building plants all over the country because I put steel -- because I put tariffs, 25 percent tariffs, on dumping steel. Right. Right. Would you -- would you think -- what do you advise -- what do you advise U.S. business to do, given that they are now faced with the tariffs they are, tariffs go up on January 1? You're talking about the rest of the imports going to 10 percent – Well, what I'd advise is for them to build factories in the United States and to make the product here. And they have a lot of other alternatives. But if you look, there's been no increase in inflation despite the tariffs, so all of these little -- all of the things you heard about, Bob, are -- have turned out to be false. We're -- we're taking in billions of dollars. We're creating tremendous numbers of jobs. Like in the steel industry, we were -- we were almost out of the business and now we have -- you know, thousands of jobs are being created. And we're going to have our own steel industry, which is a very important industry. You don't want to be -- you know, you don't want to be buying your steel from China, let me put it that way. But – Let me ask you also, I mean, so you gave advice to the -- to U.S. business. What advice would you give to the Chinese who are trying to decide how to deal with you? Make a fair deal. The only deal that would really be acceptable to me -- other than obviously we have to do something on the theft of intellectual property, right -- but the only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the United States. As far as other countries are concerned, that's up to them. I'm interested in the United States. They have to open up China to the United States. Otherwise, I don't see a deal being made. And if it's not made, we will be taking in billions and billions of dollars. OK. And what will happen, Bob, is a lot of the things we buy from China we're going to make in this country. Hey, Bob. This is Sarah. We got to make this the last question. Go ahead, Bob. OK. Let me run one by you. She always interrupts me in the middle of something. [Laughs] I can tell you like talking about this stuff. I do. I just can't do it enough. You like -- any comment on the -- GM shutting its plants, laying off employees? Yeah. I think GM ought to stop making cars in China and make them here. And I think it was a big mistake for GM to do that. I think they forgot where they came from. Uh-huh. Anything that you plan to do? Is there anything you can do? Well, it's one plant in Ohio. But I love Ohio. And I told them: You're playing around with the wrong person. And Ohio wasn't properly represented by their Democrat senator, Senator Brown, because he didn't get the point across. But we will all together get the point across to General Motors . And they better damn well open up a new plant there very quickly. You know, they haven't closed -- they're reallocating it, it's called. And I said, because their Cruze car isn't selling, OK? They make a car called Chevy Cruze. And it's not selling well. So I said: Then put a car that is selling well in there but get it open fast. And when you say, “you said,” did you have a talk with -- who were you talking with? I spoke with Mary Barra, the head of General Motors last night. I said: I heard you're closing your plant. It's not going to be closed for long, I hope, Mary, because if it is you've got a problem. Uh-huh. OK. And did she answer you? She just sort of said we're trying to get something -- you know, it's being reallocated. You understand that, right? Yeah. Yeah. So she told me: The car's not selling. I said, so maybe you got to make a better car. Mmm hmm. And also – And that has nothing to do with tariffs, you know. That has nothing – No, no, no. I know. It's just the -- we don't get a chance to – You know, a lot of times people like to blame tariffs when they're doing badly. So they're doing badly. And they say, oh, let's blame tariffs, you know, because they don't know what they're doing. So they're doing badly. And they'll say: Let's blame tariffs. Why not? [Laughs] Right. Right. So, anyway. No, it had nothing to do with tariffs. And if I could throw another one in there. Go ahead. I mean, you have said that you thought that Jay Powell would be a low -- a low-rate person. Why did you get that impression? I mean, you would have thought – Well, let's see what happens with Jay Powell. So far, I can tell you -- I said it the other day, and I'll say it again: I think the Fed right now is a much bigger problem than China. I think it's -- I think it's incorrect what they're doing. I don't like what they're doing. I don't like the $50 billion. I don't like what they're doing in terms of interest rates. And they're not being accommodative at all. And I'm doing trade deals, and they're great trade deals, but the Fed is not helping. Whereas, China, you know, they have automatic accommodation. And even the EU, which we're going after now, you know, for a fair deal -- because that's been almost as bad as China, just smaller. I mean, the only difference between the EU and China is size. They treat us very badly. They don't take our farm products. They don't take our cars. They don't take anything. And yet, we give them a lot. They're up $151 billion on the United States every year for years. And the EU was set up in order to hurt the United States on trade. Are you -- are you planning to meet, then, at the G-20 with Juncker? Do you think there -- would that – Maybe. Look, he knows where I stand. He's going to come -- you know, he came to see me. He didn't care until I said I was going to tax his cars. And then the next day he was there at about 7:00 in the morning. Huh. Do you think you will go ahead with the tariffs on the cars? If they don't make a fair deal with us, I'd do it in about 12 minutes. Huh. It depends whether or not they make a fair deal. So far they're -- you know, we talk about it. So far they're talking about a deal, but it's all talk. And I'm not going to make the kind of deal that the U.K. made, believe me. What do you want them to do? Huh? What would you like them to do? What would be a fair deal? A fair deal is that they have to take down their barriers and that they have to start -- stop charging us massive taxes for our people -- and also their standards. For instance, they'll create a standard -- we'll make a product, and they'll make a standard that's different than the product, lower or higher. But it's different. So then our product can't come into the EU. They do that all the time, like with medical equipment, OK? But they have to take down their barriers and they have to take off the taxes. And, frankly, they have to start treating our companies better, because they sue all of our companies for billions and billions of dollars. They're picking up all this money from our companies. We should be the ones to sue our companies. All right, Bob? All right. Thank you so much. Oh, by the way, one personal thing. I think – Bob, here's the bottom -- here's the bottom line: We're going to make a great deal with China. And everybody hopefully will be very happy, including China. But we're going to make a deal with China that's going to be representative of the United States the way it used to be. Huh. A long -- that was a long time ago. Longer than you would remember. If I can just throw in one personal thing. I'm from Queens. Good. My stepmother, I think, knew your family. The Lazoffs. they lived down the street from you. Oh, yeah. Sure. Midland Parkway. So, anyway, I just thought I'd end there. Yeah. That's exactly true. That's good. Is she around? Still around? Yeah, yeah. She's, like, 85 or so. Well, I know the name very well. And very friendly. That's good. Now I know I'm going to get a good story. Otherwise, I'm going to complain to -- I'll complain to her. [Laughs] No, we're going to do -- we're going to do a good job for our country, Bob. That's what I'm here for, OK? All right. Thanks very much for your time. I appreciate it. Thanks, Bob. Say hello.