The White House has taken steps toward setting up a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping as the world’s two largest economies clash over trade, Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Thursday.
“There’s some movement toward” a meeting in Argentina at the G-20 summit next month, the National Economic Council director said. Still, he added that talks or the topics the leaders would address have not “been set in concrete.”
“They have lots to talk about. So we’ll see,” Kudlow told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”
A trade conflict between Washington and Beijing has escalated as the countries slap mounting tariffs on imports. Most recently, the Trump administration imposed duties on $200 billion worth of goods from China, prompting Beijing to put tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.
Trump has threatened even more duties as the nations struggle to restart talks toward a deal. Issues that need to be addressed include U.S. concerns about alleged theft of intellectual property by Chinese companies and the trade deficit between the countries. The unresolved tensions have raised fears about widening economic damage that could hit American consumers and companies.
In addition, the U.S. president has accused China of targeting farmers with tariffs in order to damage Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections. At a U.N. Security Council meeting last month, Trump charged that Beijing does not “want me or us to win because I am the first president to ever challenge China on trade.”
China has denied trying to influence the U.S. election, in which Democrats are favored to take control of the House from Trump’s Republican Party.
In recent days, both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have used increasingly tough rhetoric toward China. Trump has repeatedly called Xi a friend, but admitted that tensions over trade may have strained their relationship.
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