WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump is still waiting for a response from Chinese President Xi Jinping about meeting to restart trade talks, economic adviser Larry Kudlow said while warning Beijing may face consequences it if refuses the invitation.
"President Trump has indicated his strong desire for a meeting, but the meeting is not yet arranged formally, so I would just start from that and see how that plays out," Kudlow said at an event in Washington on Thursday.
Asked if it's possible they won't meet, Kudlow replied: "I don't want to even comment on it, I'm just saying my president has indicated a strong desire to sit and meet. He's also indicated that if the meeting doesn't come to bear, there may be consequences. But he would prefer the meeting."
Trump has repeatedly threatened to raise tariffs if Xi doesn't meet with him at the G-20 leaders' meeting from June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan. Trump said on Wednesday that he had no deadline for China to return to trade talks that collapsed amid U.S. accusations that Beijing had reneged on commitments in a tentative accord.
Kudlow said the Chinese are seeking a "balanced" deal but that's not possible, in the view of the U.S. administration. "We can't have so-called balanced agreement because we have such an unbalanced relationship. We are asking for correctives and remedies for the existing imbalance," he said Thursday.
Last month as the trade talks broke down, Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports and started the process to slap tariffs on another $300 billion, which would cover virtually all remaining goods coming into the U.S. from the world's second-largest economy.
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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said this week that Trump and Xi at most would agree on a path forward to continue talks at the G-20, and not hammer out a detailed pact.
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