White House revises transcript to indicate China trade ceasefire began Dec. 1

The White House on Monday corrected top economic adviser Larry Kudlow’s claim that the 90-day trade ceasefire with China would begin on Jan. 1, saying the period actually started on Dec. 1.

Speaking to reporters earlier Monday, Kudlow said President Trump agreed to give Chinese President Xi Jinping 90 days from the beginning of next year to address U.S. concerns about the two nation’s trade imbalance.

{mosads}”That’s right. Yes, to Jan. 1st,” Kudlow said when pressed by a reporter on the start date.

The White House on Monday evening issued a corrected transcript of the conversation saying the the negotiating clock began ticking last Saturday, the day Trump and Xi agreed to the truce.

Kudlow’s comments fueled confusion about what the two leaders actually agreed to during their trade meeting at last weekend’s Group of 20 summit.

The White House initially said last Saturday that Trump and Xi “agreed to immediately begin negotiations” on resolving major irritants in their trade relationship and “will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days.”

In addition to the start date, Kudlow and other White House aides provided conflicting accounts about whether China agreed to reduce its 40 percent tariff on imported automobiles. Trump tweeted Sunday that Beijing did agree to that proposal, but the Chinese made no mention of it after the summit.

Stock markets rallied Monday on news of the agreement, under which Trump will delay a tariff increase in exchange for Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and a promise to address issues such as trade barriers and forced technology transfers.

But those fundamental issues remain unresolved and China hawks have expressed concern that Beijing may just be attempting to stall the U.S. without giving significant ground.

Tags auto tariffs Donald Trump US-China trade relations White House transcript
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