Larry Kudlow, National Economic Council director, issued tempered optimism on Tuesday as President Trump heads into a G20 Argentina meeting with China to negotiate trade.
Kudlow explained during Tuesday’s White House press briefing that the meeting would be a bilateral dinner meeting involving President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit in Argentina that starts this week.
Kudlow referred to recent words from President Trump that a good possibility exists that the U.S. and China can forge a trade deal, and Trump is open to it. He then added the caveat that fairness and reciprocity must be a part of the deal. These include specifically solving the problems of Chinese theft of intellectual property, forced technology transfer, significant tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and issues of ownership.
The economic adviser believes President Trump will reiterate the view that a world would have zero tariffs, zero non-tariffs barriers, and zero subsidies.
“Whether they can get through all that remains to be seen,” Kudlow clarified. “But that’s the president’s point of view.”
The U.S. comes into the G20 strong, while China has been weakened, Kudlow communicated. The U.S. has an average three percent GDP growth over the past year. He added that there has been a strong holiday season already, including strong Black Friday sales numbers. Gas prices are down as well.
“The U.S. is in good shape. China, not so good,” said Kudlow. “Most observers believe China to be in a slump, whereas the United States is in a very strong, solid position going into this summit.”
Kudlow reiterated Trump’s communication that there is a good chance for a deal, but if the aforementioned conditions are neither met nor dealt with, President Trump will be perfectly happy to stand on the tariff policies he has employed. Kudlow brought up the ten percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods that is scheduled to bump up to 25 percent.
“If things don’t work out in this U.S.-China summit meeting, [President Trump] will invoke another 267 some-odd billion dollars in tariffs,” Kudlow said, citing President Trump’s own recent remarks.