President Donald Trump reportedly expressed cautious optimism on Tuesday about reaching a trade deal with China ahead of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The two presidents plan to meet for dinner on Saturday during the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The meeting could prove to be a critical moment, given that the the United States and China have been engaging in an escalating trade war.
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National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow (shown above right) spoke with reporters on Tuesday morning at the White House about the upcoming dinner after a discussion with the president about it.
“I just want to mention what the president had told us a little while ago,” Kudlow said. “In his view, there is a good possibility that a deal can be made and that he is open to that. He is open to that. Having said that, there are some caveats as always. Certain conditions have to be met in respect to fairness and reciprocity, as we’ve said many times.”
The president has strongly criticized China for its trade practices as he has attempted to rework established agreements.
His administration has imposed multiple tariffs on the country this year; the latest is a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of imported goods.
China was already hit with $50 billion worth of tariffs earlier this year.
Kudlow also argued that the United States is in a much better position to weather a trade war economically. He pointed to the three percent economic growth rate over the last year. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) most recently found the economy grew at 3.5 percent during the third quarter of this year.
Trump has threatened to levy additional tariffs if all else fails.
Before that, the economy increased by 4.2 percent during the second quarter.
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“Most observers believe China to be in a slump while the United States is in a very strong and solid position going into this summit,” Kudlow said. “However, to repeat, the president has said there is a good possibility we can make a deal and he is open to it.”
China has held its ground despite increasing pressure from the United States.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a speech on September 28 at the United Nations that his country will not be forced into a new trade agreement.
Trump, however, has threatened to levy additional tariffs if all else fails.
“But on the other hand, if these conditions are not met and not dealt with, the president has said he is perfectly happy to stand on his tariff policies,” Kudlow said.
“He said [this] as recently as yesterday or the day before, [that] if need be, if things don’t work out in this U.S.-China summit meeting, he will invoke another $267 million in tariffs.”
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