As stocks slide, White House downplays 'trade war' fears

The White House is downplaying fears of a trade war with China.

The White House on Wednesday looked to downplay renewed fears of a potential trade war with China after stocks were jolted by Beijing's announcement overnight of $50 billion in proposed retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.

“There’s no trade war here,” National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said in an interview with Fox Business. “What you've got the early stages of a process that will include tariffs, comments on the tariffs, then ultimate decisions and negotiations."

"I understand the stock market’s anxiety," Kudlow said. "I get that. But on the other hand, don't overreact.”

Kudlow went as far to suggest that there remains flexibility on both sides regarding whether the tariffs will actually take effect, depending on the result of ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and China.

"I doubt if there would be any concrete actions for several months. We will see how that plays out,” Kudlow said. “Nothing concrete has actually happened.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also declined to speculate on whether U.S. tariffs would actually go into effect or whether issues between the U.S. and China would be resolved during those ongoing negotiations.

"We're asking China to stop unfair trade practices and we're going to work through that process over the next couple of months," Sanders told reporters at the Wednesday press briefing. "I'm not going to get ahead of the process where we are."