A senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump on Wednesday said Chinese President Xi Jinping was blocking an agreement to resolve the trade dispute with the United States.

“I think Xi is holding the game up,” said Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council. “I don’t think President Xi has any intention of following through on the discussions we’ve made.”

Larry Kudlow
Larry Kudlow. Photo: Gage Skidmore.

Trump has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium worldwide, as well on $34 billion in Chinese goods, with another US$16 billion likely to be targeted shortly, and US$200 billion more to face duties as soon as September.

Trump is “dissatisfied with China” and is “keeping the pressure on,” Kudlow said in an interview on CNBC, the television network where he worked for before joining Trump’s staff.

China has retaliated in kind, as have other trading partners impacted by the metals tariffs.

Kudlow said China could resolve the dispute “this afternoon” by simply cutting tariffs, eliminating non-tariff barriers, and stopping the practice of stealing US technology through forced transfers.

Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping. File Photo: FCO.

“Don’t blame Trump, blame China,” he said.

On the confrontation with Europe, which also has retaliated against US metals duties, and faces a threat of tariffs on auto exports, Kudlow said he believes the European Union is considering a compromise offer.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is due to meet with Trump in Washington July 25 and “I’m told he’s bringing a very important free trade offer … that could lower barriers,” Kudlow said. “We may be pleasantly surprised.”

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