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Kudlow: China Trade Talks May Yield 'Positive Surprises'

Friday, 04 October 2019 10:03 AM

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speculates that next week’s China trade talks with the U.S. could very well stun everyone.

Kudlow held out hope for progress in opening China’s financial services markets to American companies in trade talks next week, adding the U.S. team was heading into them “open-minded.”

“There could be positive surprises coming out of these talks,” the veteran financial guru and former Ronald Reagan adviser told Bloomberg Television.

“I’m not predicting. I’m just saying don’t rule that out. There could be some positive surprises,” said Kudlow, assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the White House’s National Economic Council.

The discussions between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin next Thursday and Friday in Washington will be preceded by deputy-level talks on Monday and Tuesday, Kudlow said on Bloomberg TV.

“Everything’s on the table, we’d love to go back to where we were in May when we were a lot closer,” Kudlow said.

The Trump trade team hoped to revisit a mostly agreed text from which China had backtracked here in May, which led to a breakdown in talks, he said.

The text at that time included an agreement negotiated by Mnuchin that involved the lifting of foreign ownership caps on financial services firms in China.

“I’m not giving you news. I’m just saying we had some pretty good things last spring, like financial services opening - that could be extended,” Kudlow said in a subsequent interview on Fox Business Network. “I say ‘could’ and the president would have to sign off on it, but don’t rule out the possibility of good news.”

Kudlow declined to make any predictions about the talks but said that there had been a "softening of the psychology on both sides" in the past month, with the United States delaying some tariff increases and China making some modest purchases of American farm products.

Kudlow said an impeachment inquiry here into Trump's discussions with Ukraine by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives was unlikely to affect the trade talks with China.

“I don’t think that’s an impact right now. I think maybe it has only the tiniest, tiniest effect, maybe occasionally on stock market psychology,” Kudlow said.

However, he said the Trump administration continued to monitor freedom and democracy protests here which he said could have an impact on the talks, without specifying how. China-backed Hong Kong authorities have struggled to curb anti-government protests here that have continued for four months.

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speculates that next week’s China trade talks with the U.S. could very well stun everyone.
kudlow, china, talks, surprises
Friday, 04 October 2019 10:03 AM
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