U.S. President Donald Trump's top economic adviser accused Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday of stalling efforts to resolve a growing trade dispute with the U.S.
White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said he believed lower-level Chinese officials want to end tariffs the world two largest economic powers have imposed on each other, but that Xi has refused to amend China's technology transfer and other trade policies.
"So far as we know, President Xi, at the moment, does not want to make a deal," Kudlow said in an interview on CNBC. "I think Xi is holding the game up," Kudlow said, and added, "The ball is in his court."
Kudlow said China could end U.S. tariffs "this afternoon" if it took measures that include cutting tariff and non-tariff barriers to imports. The U.S. has also called on Beijing to end the "theft" of intellectual property and allow full foreign ownership of companies operating in China.
Kudlow also said he expects European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to make a trade offer when he meets with Trump at the White House next week.
Trump has demanded that the EU cut its 10 percent tariffs in auto imports at a time when his administration is conducting a national security study that could result in a 25 percent U.S. tariff on imported vehicles.
A 25 percent tariff would have a significant financial impact on European and Japanese automakers, and while Juncker has said he would make an trade offer to Trump next week, he did not offer details.
Earlier this month, Trump imposed 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods valued at $34 billion, with another $16 billion set to take effect in the near future. Trump has also announced 10 percent tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese products that could be imposed as early as next month.
Beijing retaliated to the first tariffs by placing duties on the same dollar amount of American imports, and has vowed to counter any further U.S. actions.
Trump imposed the tariffs after an Office of the U.S. Trade Representative investigation concluded China was violating intellectual property rules and forcing U.S. companies operating in China to hand over technology secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market.