Kudlow: Trump's Agreement to Resume Trade Talks With China 'Is a Very Big Deal'

Susan Jones | July 1, 2019 | 6:06am EDT
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President Donald Trump leaves a press conference after the G-20 Summit on June 29, 2019 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - President Trump is returning from the G-20 summit with an agreement to restart trade talks with China.

On Saturday, the president tweeted:

I had a great meeting with President Xi of China yesterday, far better than expected. I agreed not to increase the already existing Tariffs that we charge China while we continue to negotiate. China has agreed that, during the negotiation, they will begin purchasing large amounts of agricultural product from our great Farmers.

At the request of our High Tech companies, and President Xi, I agreed to allow Chinese company Huawei to buy product from them which will not impact our National Security. Importantly, we have opened up negotiations again with China as our relationship with them continues to be a very good one.

The quality of the transaction is far more important to me than speed. I am in no hurry, but things look very good! There will be no reduction in the Tariffs currently being charged to China.

Chief White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told "Fox News Sunday" the agreement to resume trade talks "is a very big deal."

The first point is just resuming the talks has president said, continuing the talks which had been interrupted for a while is a very big deal. I think that is the banner headline from this, and I think everybody's going to be pleased at that. There's no promises. There's no deal made. There's no timetable.

I want to emphasize that, the president said several times this is about the quality of the deal, there's no timetable, there's no rush. He is comfortable where he is in any case. But I think coming back, we will resume the talks, the two teams will be getting together, tariffs will not be raised. There's no lifting of tariffs on the remaining $325 billion, that's an important concession by President Trump.

And we also expect the Chinese -- while the talks are going, we expect the Chinese to begin large-scale purchases, imports of the U.S. agriculture products and services.

So, new talks, resume talks, no new tariffs and agriculture purchases, and the rest of it is going to go on for quite some time, frankly.

Host Chris Wallace noted that before U.S.-China trade talks broke down in May, Kudlow said the two sides were 90 percent of the way to a deal. "Have they agreed to keep the commitments they'd already made, or are we starting from scratch?" Wallace asked.

"Well, the president himself mentioned a couple of times, in his press conference and elsewhere, that he would like to go back to where we left off in early May, whenever it was, and yes, that 90 percent number is fair, although the last 10 percent could be the toughest and there's no guarantees that the deal will go through.

"Look, it's very important, I know from the American side, the relationship with China has to be rebalanced. It has been very unbalanced in recent years. As you know, we have had tremendous problems with intellectual property theft, force transfers of technology, tariffs, nontariff barriers, various cyber hacking going on and other issues, OK? Those have to be remedied. I mean, that's a very important point of these talks, however long that may take, it is impossible to predict, but we would prefer to go back.

"I don't know what the Chinese side is going to say and we won't know until Ambassador Lighthizer and Secretary Mnuchin and so forth get back together with their Chinese counterparts," Kudlow said.

President Trump announced he did make one concession to China involving Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, allowing American companies to resume selling technology to Huawei. Some Republicans oppose doing business with a company that is believed to be an extension of Chinese intelligence.

"Now let's be quite careful here," Kudlow said. "The president's announcement...he was very clear to say that American companies can supply Huawei with various products and services provided that there is no national security issues or problems.

"So, the Commerce Department, as you may know, already offered a number of general service licenses for some sales to Huawei. On the other hand, I think Commerce will probably go back after the president's decision and take another look at that, maybe open it up.

"You know, there's a lot of technology services, telecom-related services that really you can find on general markets, and we don't think have any national security implications," Kudlow said. "So, I think there's a good chance the Commerce Department, Secretary Ross, will open the door on that and grant these licenses."

Amid criticism from Republican lawmakers, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) among them, Kudlow said, "This is not a general amnesty, if you will. Huawei will remain on the so-called entity list where there are serious export controls and any national security inferences or suggestions, there won't be any licenses.

"But having said that, I think all this kind of happens is the Commerce Department will grant some temporary additional licenses where there was a general availability. I mean, for example, some of the chips, the chipmakers in the United States are selling products that are frankly widely available from other countries and we don't think there's any national security."

“So, we will look at this carefully. We will undoubtedly -- I think the president will be meeting with senators and others, our own principles are going to be meeting to take a look at this. So, this is not general amnesty. They will remain on the so-called entity list and national security concerns will remain paramount.”

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