Kudlow defends China approach: Trump sees himself as a 'free trader'

Kudlow defends China approach: Trump sees himself as a 'free trader'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE's new top economic adviser Larry Kudlow defended Trump's approach to trade policy with China in an interview, calling the president a "free trader" despite criticism that his policies are protectionist.

In an interview Sunday on AM 970 in New York, Kudlow told host John Catsimatidis that Trump's proposed $60 billion in tariffs against China were meant to force the country to stop its theft of American intellectual property. "Contrary to [the view of] recent American presidents, China technology transfer is China’s stealing of American intellectual property rights, the Chinese counterfeiting of American goods, the Chinese tariffs and barriers have got to stop," Kudlow said.

"The president regards himself as a free trader," the former CNBC host added. "[But] the path to free trade must be to correct unfair trading practices, of which, frankly John, China is guilty."

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Kudlow went on to say that stock market instability this week was a result of China's proposed $3 billion in reciprocal tariffs meant to counter 25 percent tariffs on steel imports to the U.S. and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports to the U.S.

"The shock to the markets what is the extent of US-China tariff arguments," Kudlow said. "This is larger and more comprehensive on both sides, John, because China is retaliating more then a lot of people in the market expected."

On Thursday, the president said that he wants "reciprocal" trade policy with China, adding that the U.S. would respond to any tariffs China put in place.

“We want reciprocal, mirror,” he said. “If they charge us, we charge them the same thing. That’s the way it’s gotta be.”