Washington: Ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Argentina on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, the White House on Tuesday set four conditions Beijing has to meet in order to arrive at any trade deal.
“I want to just mention what the president told us a short while ago and that is 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,” Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow told White House reporters at a news conference here about the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1.
Trump and Xi are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting over dinner, during which the two leaders are expected to focus on discussing ongoing trade dispute and arrive at a deal.
“Certain conditions have to be met with respect to fairness and reciprocity as we’ve said many times. For example, issues of intellectual property theft must be solved, forced technology transfers must be solved, significant tariffs and non-tariff barriers must be solved, issues of ownership have to be solved,” Kudlow said.
“The president will probably reiterate his view; we want a world ideally of zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies. Now whether they can get through all of that remains to be seen but that’s the president’s point of view as I said just a little while ago,” Kudlow told reporters soon after he and the national security advisor John Bolton had a meeting with Trump on the various aspects of G-20 Summit.
The US, he said, is coming to the summit in very good shape.
“Our economy is quite strong, it’s growing at three per cent over the past year. Second quarter was 4.2, third quarter was 3.5 perhaps to be revised upwards. We are in a very good shape,” he said.
On the other hand, the Chinese economic situation is not good, he said. “I’m not here to critique or second-guess the Chinese economy but most observers believe China to be in a slump whereas the United States is in a very strong solid position going into the summit. However, again to repeat the president said there’s a good possibility that we can make a deal and he is open to it,” he said.
Kudlow warned that if the conditions set by the Trump Administration are not met and not dealt with, Trump has said he is perfectly happy to stand on his tariff policies which is 10 per cent import duties on USD200 billion worth of Chinese import scheduled to go to 25 per cent.
“He has said as recently as yesterday, the day before if need be if things don’t work out in this US-China summit meeting, he will invoke another (USD) 267 (billion) some odd billion dollars in tariffs,” he said.
That may not be the first choice, Kudlow noted.
Responding to questions, Kudlow said that the final decision in this regard would be taken by the president after his meeting with Xi. “President is going to make up his mind after the meeting,” he said.
The United States, he asserted, is in far better shape than the Chinese. “I am a free trader but you have to ask yourself — this is what President Trump has been talking about, is it free trade when there is clear evidence of unfair and WTO illegal trading practices by China for several decades? Is that fair? Is that free?” he asked.
“Is it free when intellectual property theft occurs or when Chinese ownership of American companies force transference of technology from American companies to the Chinese companies? Is that fair? Or high tariffs on agriculture and industrial supplies? Is that fair?” he questioned. Trump, he said is the first president in at least 20 years who not only has made this case but continues to make this case forcefully.
“Other presidents in both parties have raised the issue and then walked away from it and President Trump obviously doesn’t intend to,” he said. “If China will come to the table or in this case the dinner table with some new ideas and some new attitudes and some new cooperation as the president said there’s a good possibility, they can make a deal. He’s open to it. So nothing is written in cement or stone,” Kudlow said.