White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Wednesday that President Donald Trump was "so dissatisfied" with stalled trade talks with China that he is keeping up the pressure through tariffs.
However, Kudlow declined to say whether the United States could win a trade war with Beijing.
"I do not think President Xi [Jinping] has any intention of following through on any of the discussions we've made," Kudlow told CNBC's Jim Cramer at the Delivering Alpha conference in New York.
"I think the president is so dissatisfied with China on these so-called talks that he is keeping the pressure on — and I support that."
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last week listed thousands of additional Chinese products that could face 10 percent tariffs — valued as much as $200 billion — as early as September.
The goods included fruits, vegetables, handbags, refrigerators, rain jackets and baseball gloves.
Beijing filed a complaint Tuesday with the World Trade Organization over the Trump administration's latest plan.
Earlier this month, the White House slapped 25 percent in tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34 billion — and Beijing immediately hit back with duties on U.S. goods valued at $34 billion.
Kudlow noted the gap between U.S. and Chinese tariffs, telling Cramer that "our average tariff is about" 2.5 percent, while "China's average tariff is about 14 percent."
"Here's my solution, and the president agrees with this: Lower your barriers," he said. "We will export like crazy. I think the problem is getting worse."
President Xi, Kudlow said, is "holding the game up" with the U.S., though the country overall would rather make a deal.
However, Trump's top economic adviser declined to say whether the U.S. could win a trade war with China.
"If you think we are [in a trade war with China], is it winnable?" Cramer asked.
"I think it's a significant trade dispute," Kudlow only responded.
"I have been a long-term critic of China," he said. "I think the president is going exactly the right thing here. This should have been done years ago.
"President Trump inherited this mess," Kudlow said. "Don't blame Trump. Blame China, please. Blame Europe. He sees himself as a free-trader."
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