Washington's trade imbalance with Beijing — the stated motivation behind President Donald Trump's punitive tariffs — will continue expanding in the years ahead, according to Yale University's Stephen Roach.
"When you don't save and you want to spend and grow, you import surplus savings from abroad and you run these massive balance of payments and trade deficits to attract the foreign capital," he told CNBC Monday at the annual China Development Forum. "That's the way it's always worked."
The Trump administration budget deficits are "going to push our savings rate lower and if anything, our trade deficits are going to get bigger in the years ahead, including the one probably with China."
Reducing the U.S. trade deficit is one of Trump's top policy goals — he's argued that it hurts American job creation and weighs on overall growth. But many economists, including Roach, say trade imbalances are not a good metric for economic health since they are influenced by a variety of macroeconomic factors.