FLASH: “Lighthizer has worked miracles on this Chinese deal, we have never come this far on China trade.”
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the US and China are on the cusp of a historic agreement.
Mr. Kudlow said the deal would commit Beijing to cut subsidies for state-owned companies and disclose when its central bank intervenes in currency markets.
“We’re making great headway on nontariff barriers and tariffs regarding various commodities such as soybeans and energy and beef. We have mechanisms with regard to enforcement, which is — I think — unparalleled,” said Mr. Kudlow.
“The progress has been terrific,” he added. But “we have to hear from the Chinese side. We have to hear from President Xi Jinping, of course. I think we’re headed for a remarkable, historic deal.”
The Chinese pledged to “significantly” reduce subsidies to state-owned firms as part of a potential deal, as well as to disclose when the nation’s central bank buys and sells foreign currency, and has also pledged to “de-emphasize” its plans to dominate in emerging technologies, outlined in its Made-in-China 2025 plan.
The US-China accord still needs to be approved at the highest levels of the Chinese government.
President Trump will meet President Xi next month at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Mr. Kudlow Bullish comments come only a day after President Trump’s Top trade negotiator struck a cautious tone, warning US lawmakers that more work needs to be done and declaring that The Trump Administration will not accept a deal that does notinclude significant “structural” changes to China’s state-driven economy, as well as a strong enforcement mechanism.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a TV interview that followed Kudlow’s remarks saying “the deal is not done yet but we have made a lot progress.” He rejected any suggestion that the administration was divided in its approach to China, saying US officials are united front in the negotiations.
The US Trade Representative’s office said Thursday it will publish a notice in the Federal Register indefinitely delaying the increase of tariffs on Chinese imports.
President Trump had previously planned to raise tariffs on 1 March, but dropped the threat amid progress at the negotiating table after the most recent round of talks that ended Sunday in Washington.
Mr. Lighthizer told lawmakers Wednesday that the United States will need to maintain the threat of tariffs on Chinese goods for years even if Washington and Beijing strike a deal to end a costly tariff dispute.
Lighthizer cautioned that much work was still needed to nail down a U.S.-China trade agreement, including working out how it will be enforced, Reuters reported.
“If we can complete this effort – and again I say if … we might be able to have an agreement that helps us turn the corner in our economic relationship with China,” Mr. Lighthizer said in testimony to the US House Ways and Means Committee.
“Lighthizer has worked miracles on this Chinese deal,” Mr. Kudlow said. “We’ve never come this far on China trade.”