China doing nothing to defuse trade tensions: Top adviser

Mr Larry Kudlow's comments come as a separate report said US President Donald Trump believes it will take more time for tariffs imposed by the US on Chinese imports to bite.
Mr Larry Kudlow's comments come as a separate report said US President Donald Trump believes it will take more time for tariffs imposed by the US on Chinese imports to bite.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump's top economic adviser accused China of refusing to engage on trade issues in a Financial Times interview, while a separate report said Mr Trump believes it will take more time for tariffs to bite.

"We gave them a detailed list of asks, regarding technology for example, (which) basically hasn't changed for five or six months. The problem with the story is that they don't respond," National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow told the Financial Times in an interview published on Sunday in Washington.

"It's really the President and the Chinese Communist Party. They have to make a decision, and so far they have not, or they have made a decision not to do anything, nothing. I've never seen anything like it."

Separately, Axios reported on Sunday that Mr Trump believes it will take more time for tariffs recently imposed by the United States on Chinese imports to have an impact on China's economy, and he believes he will gain more leverage in trade negotiations the longer they remain in place.

Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet at the Group of 20 summit of global leaders in Argentina next month. Trade talks have been on ice since late last month, when the two countries implemented another round of tariffs on each other's imports.

Mr Kudlow's comments and the Axios report follow a three-day stretch in which top Chinese officials, including Mr Xi, sought to bolster investor confidence via statements as well as comments reported by state-run media outlets.

The benchmark Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index fell last week to its lowest level in four years as trade tensions and concerns over an economic slowdown weighed on sentiment. Growth decelerated to 6.5 per cent in the third quarter, according to data published last Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

 

In May, US and Chinese negotiators issued long lists of demands during talks in Beijing. Among US demands were a reduction in the country's trade deficit with China and abandonment of subsidies and government support to industries included in its Made in China 2025 industrial policy programme.

China's demands included the US ceasing a ban on exports to China of integrated circuits, opening government procurement to Chinese technology products and services, and giving Chinese companies equal treatment in national security reviews.

China's Commerce Minister Zhong Shan told Bloomberg earlier this month that China would not back down in the face of higher US tariffs on Chinese products, adding that "China doesn't want a trade war, but would rise up to it should it break out".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2018, with the headline 'China doing nothing to defuse trade tensions: Top adviser'. Print Edition | Subscribe