Kudlow: ‘We are not in a trade war’

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The Trump administration may propose specific actions China could take to avoid being slapped with billions of dollars in tariffs, President Trump’s top economic adviser said Friday.

“The U.S. may provide a list of suggestions to China,” White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told a group of reporters at the White House, adding that resolving the trade dispute between Washington and Beijing is “eminently doable” within three months.

The comments come one day after Trump ordered his administration to consider $100 billion in additional sanctions on China, which raised fears of a full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies. 


Kudlow, who has been at the White House for just five days, has repeatedly tried to calm those fears in media appearances.

“We are not in a trade war,” he said. “What this is is an attempt to right some of the wrongs with respect to China.”

But Kudlow acknowledged the possibility of a costly trade conflict, saying that “any foreign policy can go awry.” 

The former CNBC analyst said the onus is on China to rein in intellectual property theft and other trade practices.

“I’m not a tariff guy, but sometimes you need to use tariffs to bring people to their senses,” said Kudlow, calling the Chinese response so far “highly unsatisfactory.” 

Kudlow added: “China is the problem. Blame China, not Trump.”

Trump announced the new tariff threat Thursday evening after China proposed $50 billion in U.S. goods in retaliation to the president’s previous call for tariffs on Chinese imports.

Chinese officials have raised the prospect of negotiating with the U.S. to settle the trade dispute.

Kudlow said the door is open to talks, but stressed that Trump is not bluffing about imposing tariffs if China does not change its behavior.

“I believe the president will use tariffs. Absolutely. I don’t want to leave any other impression,” he said.

Tags China Donald Trump economy Tariff trade war U.S. economy
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