Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, said the U.S. and China are “close” to a trade deal but that the administration was prepared to walk away if it did not get the terms it wanted.
“The president has said many times if the deal is no good, if the assurances with respect to preventing future thefts, if the enforcement procedure is no good he has said we will not go for it. We will walk away,” Kudlow said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Friday. “The president has said that if we cannot get the enforcement and the assurances, then we will not go forward.”
The two countries are in talks to finalize a so-called phase one trade deal as 15% tariffs on $165 billion in Chinese imports are set to kick in Dec. 15. Kudlow said the two sides are moving near a deal.
“The deal is close. It’s probably even closer than in mid-November,” Kudlow said. “The reality is constructive talks, almost daily talks. We are in fact close. … There’s no arbitrary deadlines, but the fact remains Dec. 15 is a very important date with respect to a no-go or go on tariffs.”
Kudlow characterized the recent discussions between the world’s two largest economies as “intense.”
“I say intense because this is a very important matter,” he said. “There’s so much at stake here when you go through the various categories. … We can’t afford, we must not permit any country, China or whoever, to willy nilly steal our breakthroughs in technology and advanced microprocessing related to 5G.”
Trump said on Thursday that trade talks with Beijing were going “very well.” He added that something could happen regarding those tariffs that are set to be imposed in less than 10 days, but added they are not discussing that yet.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday the U.S. and China still haven’t reached a consensus on the amount of agriculture goods that China would buy.
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