White House contradicts Trump, says there's no deal with China

Devin Lawrence
December 5, 2018

"We don't yet have a specific agreement on that", Kudlow said, apparently contradicting Trump's tweet on the matter.

Aside from the fact that China hasn't actually confirmed the claim, under World Trade Organization (WTO) policies, if Beijing offered the U.S.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said earlier this week the US won Chinese commitments to buy more than $1 trillion in American products.

His comments relate to the 40% tariff China imposes on U.S. vehicle imports, which were brought in as part of the trade battle in July.

After describing the agreement made between China and the United States during the G-20 summit in Argentina over the weekend as "an incredible deal" and "one of the largest deals ever made", Donald Trump has done an unsurprising 180 after apparently finally appearing to catch up with reality. Auto tariffs will be discussed right away in follow-up talks, Kudlow said.

Mnuchin cast the weekend dinner as a breakthrough in the trade standoff with China and said there were "very, very specific" items that the two leaders agreed to have incorporated into a broader agreement that has yet to be finalized. Trump jolted vehicle stocks by announcing a deal had been reached.

Early Tuesday, Kudlow said the White House doesn't yet have a deal with China to reduce tariffs on US -made cars, backtracking from a tweet by the president just two days earlier.

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The US trade deficit with China was Dollars 335 billion previous year and many manufacturers rely on inputs from the world's number two economy, so eliminating the deficit would be an extraordinary goal.

As tit-for-tat trade tariffs ratcheted up between the nations this year, China slapped retaliatory duties on US soybeans, pork and a host of other agricultural goods.

"If it really was zero across the board on tariff protection, I think other suppliers than the United States would ship most of the additional cars to China", said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"However I will give it to him that he has managed to bring China to the table", said Guajardo, who is now a senior director at Washington-based McLarty Associates focusing on global trade.

"Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days". Trump named U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to lead the talks with Beijing.

There are several significant take-aways from this development, including the argument that Trump's hard line, even at times belligerent stance with Beijing, has caused them to blink first, particularly since economic growth in China has already started to feel the brunt of USA tariffs, while US economic growth, though not as robust as a few months ago, is still strong. Many Democrats and Republicans, as well as global leaders, have agreed with Trump's assessment, and he has taken an adversarial approach with Beijing, saying he believes this is the only way to force changes.

No one's quite sure how Trump plans to get his way (and, in turn, pass on the cost of these tariffs to the US people), but what's also grabbing attention is how Trump phrased one of his tweets. Trump said on Tuesday that Lighthizer would work closely with Mnuchin, Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro. -China trade war and a possible economic slowdown. Let the negotiations begin.

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