No Preconditions Set Before Trump–Xi Meeting on Trade: Kudlow

June 27, 2019 Updated: June 27, 2019

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on June 27 said no preconditions had been set for talks between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, contradicting a media report this morning that Xi will present Trump with a set of demands when they meet at the G-20 summit.

The Wall Street Journal reported on June 27, citing unnamed Chinese officials, that Xi plans to present Trump with a list of demands that the United States must meet before the trade dispute can be resolved, including that U.S. authorities lift its ban on the sale of U.S. technology to Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

“No preconditions have been discussed at all,” Kudlow said in a Thursday interview with Fox News.

“I don’t know where those stories came from. It’s too bad: I hate to say it, but it is fake news. Look, let’s see what happens, just for the heck of it. Without speculating or forecasting,” he added.

“The president says we’re in a good spot. He also says he’s happy to talk to President Xi, to have a good relationship and if something good comes out of those talks or if China were to offer us a good deal in the future, we might be willing to change some of our views.”

Trump and Xi have both arrived in Osaka, Japan for the G-20 Summit. They will meet on June 29, in the first meeting between the two leaders since trade talks broke down in early May. Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods after accusing the Chinese regime of reneging on commitments negotiated over months of talks.

On June 26, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two parties were “90 percent of the way” towards reaching a deal, before the regime backtracked on agreed-upon provisions.

Kudlow expressed optimism that the upcoming meeting could result in the restart of talks with the Chinese regime, to the point before trade talks stalled.

“We believe it’s quite possible that if the meeting goes well that the Chinese will come back to the negotiating table, and we might be able to pick up where we left off in May where we completed roughly 90 percent of what could be a good agreement,” he said.

Earlier, Trump on June 26 said that it was “absolutely possible” that his meeting with Xi would yield enough progress such that he would hold fire on the additional tariffs he had threatened to impose.

On Thursday, Kudlow clarified Trump’s comments, saying that the president may impose further tariffs if the two sides are unable to make progress on trade talks. Trump had said that if the meeting with Xi does not yield progress, he would then initiate “phase two”—levying tariffs on the remaining $325 billion worth of annual Chinese imports, starting with a duty of 10 percent.

“He’s perfectly happy where we are and where he is in these so-called negotiations and talks,” Kudlow said.

“And, if need be, we may move ahead—we may move ahead on additional tariffs.”

In addition to the trade war, tensions between the world’s two largest economies have escalated since the United States put Huawei on a blacklist, citing national security concerns, effectively banning it from doing business with American suppliers. In apparent retaliation, the regime said it would draw up an “unreliable entity list” of foreign companies, organizations, and individuals that harm Chinese businesses.

Also on Thursday, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson called on the United States to immediately remove sanctions on Huawei.

Meanwhile, remarks made by Xi in a speech to senior cadres of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Politburo earlier this week may signal that the Chinese regime will not make major concessions at the G-20 Summit, according to analysts.

Xi’s speech focused on challenges from within the the CCP, and did not allude to external threats such as the trade war with the United States. U.S.-based China commentator Tang Jingyuan told the Epoch Times that his remarks indicated that infighting between different factions within the Party was particularly intense.

“To make sure that he won’t be criticized too much by the other CCP factions and keep his position as CCP leader, Xi won’t make big compromises during the G-20 summit,” Tang predicted.

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