White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed Thursday that the U.S. and China will resume trade talks later this month, but warned that President Donald Trump has a strong resolve to make sure the administration gets a good deal.
Kudlow is the director of the National Economic Council and is one of Trump’s top advisors. His office likely will be involved when a Chinese delegation visits the U.S. later in August for trade talks, though he said in an interview with CNBC that David Malpass, the under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs, will act as lead.
“The Chinese government, in its totality, must not underestimate President Trump’s toughness and willingness to continue this battle to eliminate tariffs and nontariff barriers and quotas, to stop the theft of intellectual property and to stop the forced transfer of technology,” Kudlow said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “Those are the asks that we’ve been making now for quite some time.”
His statements come amid market optimism that the two sides will be able to avert a trade war that some fear could spill over globally and stanch the economic momentum the U.S. has seen during the Trump administration.
The president has vowed to renegotiate global trade deals that have worked against the U.S., and he has targeted China specifically for tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods so far.
Kudlow was measured in his optimism about the upcoming negotiations even amid his hopes for the economy.
“Let’s just see what happens,” he said. “Sometimes talks can produce better outcomes than expected.”
As Kudlow spoke, Wall Street was preparing for a rally following several volatile days of trading. Stocks surged at Thursday’s opening after headlines broke that the two sides again were trying to resolve their differences.
Among Trump’s main grievances are lopsided tariffs that make China far less hospitable for U.S. goods than Chinese goods are in America. The administration has specifically targeted the elimination of intellectual property theft as its goals in the talks.
“If they open up their markets, whether you’re talking about industry or financial services or technology, U.S.A. will talk through the increase export sales to China by phenomenal rates,” Kudlow said. “We’re the most competitive economy in the world because of the unexpected boom as the result of new policies.”
Kudlow also said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is “getting close” to a trade deal with Mexico.