- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2018

President Trump’s top economic adviser said Friday that the U.S. is not engaged in a trade war with China, despite the president’s order for his administration to consider $100 billion in new tariffs on Chinese products.

“We’re not running a trade war,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters. “This is just a proposed idea which will be vetted by [the U.S. Trade Representative] and then open for public comment. Nothing’s happened. Nothing’s been executed. There’s no ‘there’ there yet.”

The Dow Jones had lost about 1.6 percent in trading by midday on fears of a trade war and concerns about a weaker-than-expected jobs report.

The president issued the new tariff directive Thursday night after China announced $50 billion in proposed tariffs against U.S. products, including pork, soybeans and airplanes. Beijing said it was responding to earlier U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Mr. Ludlow said the U.S. actions are aimed mainly at stopping China from stealing intellectual property and technology.

“President Trump says enough is enough,” he said. “Hopefully, this will have a very happy ending. I’m still optimistic that the Chinese recognize that the rest of the world is on our side.”

Asked about concerns that the tariffs would hurt U.S. farmers and other sectors of the economy, Mr. Kudlow said the administration is optimistic that won’t happen.

“We are asking China to open markets. We are asking China to lower barriers,” he said. “If we can get those issues resolved positively, there’s no damage to the American economy.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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