On Wednesday's broadcast of FOX Business Network's Varney & Co., Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow insisted there is "absolutely not" a trade war between the U.S. and China.
Kudlow said he is a "free trade guy," thus not a fan of tariffs," but believes President Trump, who he serves, is "completely right" to take the actions he has done.
Transcript, via FBN:
KUDLOW: “Absolutely not. Absolutely not. And let me just say right at the top, number one, blame China, not President Trump. Because they’ve been going on for many years. Trump is really the first president to fight back and to put a shot across the bow, stealing intellectual property rights, technology transfers, high barriers, investment limitations, high tariffs – this stuff really is not just unfair, it’s unlawful. It’s outside the boundaries of the WTO. Every country in the world knows this. Every analyst knows this is the case. Somebody’s got to deal with it. President Trump is going to deal with it. There’s no trade war here. What you’ve got is the early stages of a process which will include tariffs, comments on the tariffs, then ultimate decisions and negotiations. There’s already backchannel talks going on. So look, I understand the stock market’s anxiety. I get that. But on the other hand, don’t over react. We’ll see how this works out. My view Stu, look, you know I’m a growth guy, I’m a Reagan supply side growth guy. I think that at the end of this whole process, that at the end of the rainbow, there’s a pot of gold. And if you open up that pot, you will see better economic growth, more trading going on, improved wages for both sides. Anytime you lower barriers, anytime you lower barriers, and that’s the key, the president will say this, lower barriers is the key, don’t raise the barriers. Anytime you do that, it’s good for growth. It’s good for American growth and American workers, it’s good for China’s growth, it’s good for the rest of the world’s growth...
“I’m not a fan of tariffs, I’m a free trade guy by and large. But I think the president is completely right to take these actions. Now China is going to have its own tariff process. Bear in mind Stu, these are just the first proposals. In the United States at least, we’re putting it out for comment, it’s going to take a couple months, I doubt if there will be any concrete action for several months, we’ll see how that plays out. Nothing concrete has actually happened, these are proposals. But the message is clear, China has got to stop these unfair and illegal trading violations. They must. They’ve done it for years. They’re operating outside the WTO…Trump’s putting his cards on the table, he’s standing up for this country, but he’s also standing up for better world trade.