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Kudlow Says Resolving Conflict a Long Process; Washington Plans Beijing Trip

Reuters 2018-11-19 14:52 PM
Kudlow Says Resolving Conflict a Long Process; Washington Plans Beijing Trip

U.S. President Donald Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday he hoped upcoming trade talks with China would yield progress but that resolving U.S. complaints would be "a long process."

Trump is preparing to send a delegation to China to try to head off a trade war. He has threatened a new round of $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese products that could target cellphones, computers and other consumer goods. China retaliated against an initial round of $50 billion in U.S. tariffs.

Kudlow, known for being pro-trade, said he would join U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin's delegation in Beijing for the talks, along with Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro, a China skeptic, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. He declined comment on when the delegation would depart.

"We are representing the interests of the United States, and we have complaints. We've made no bones about that, so we wish to resolve these complaints," Kudlow told reporters at the White House.

"That is our hope, that we can make some progress. It's not going to be final. It's not going to be the end of the line. It's a long process," he said.

Kudlow met on Wednesday with Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple Inc., whose company makes products in China and who has urged calm during the recent flare in trade tensions with Beijing.

Kudlow declined comment on whether Cook asked Trump for changes in his trade policy on China, and on whether Cook made the case for how tech firms could be hurt by additional tariffs.

"Mr. Cook has before and continued to acknowledge that China's got to make some big changes," Kudlow said. "He's obviously sensitive to all the issues of forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft."

Trump also has ordered the Treasury Department to consider new investment restrictions for China. Asked where those proposals stood, Kudlow said: "Everything's on the table."

Separately, Premier Keqiang Li said at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Zhao on Thursday that China is open to negotiating with the United States on trade, and that both countries should manage their conflicts through dialogue.