Trump economic adviser: 'No agreement' on trade deal between US and China yet

George Stephanopoulos interviews Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, on "This Week."
8:33 | 05/20/18

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Transcript for Trump economic adviser: 'No agreement' on trade deal between US and China yet
We're going to come out fine with China. Hopefully China is going to be happy. I think we will be happy. And as the expression goes, when you're losing $500 billion a year on trade, you can't lose the trade war. You have already lost it. We've had horrible representatives in H this country that have allowed other countries to get away with murder. And those days are gone. Those days are over. That was president trump on Thursday, before the trade talks with China adjourned, at least for now. We're joined by his director of the white house national economic council Larry kudlow. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. Thank you, appreciate it. As the talks went on through Friday evening, the white house and the Chinese put out a joint statement yesterday. This joint statement did not include any specific commitment to reduce the trade deficit by the Chinese by $200 billion. Going into the meetings, you said they agreed on doing that. The white house was pushing hard for that kind of reduction. So did the talks fail? No, George, certainly not. I never said we agreed to do that. I said, in fact, there was no deal. But, regarding the number 200. First of all, that's a number that interested the president a lot. And both sides, I was in beijing, as well as Washington. Both sides have used that as a rough ballpark estimate. I mean, here's the thing. The Chinese say they haven't, though. Well, I don't know. Informally, I have heard that number from them. Depends on how you count things. Here's the key point, if I may. In the communique, that was a consensus of taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China. That's the key point. And here's the second key point. They're offering to make structural reforms, such as lowering tariffs and nontariff barriers, which will permit us to export billions and billions more goods to China. That's the elementary point. Key point. These numbers, you can't predict. They're macroeconomic things depending on Condi we made a lot of progress here if Washington, and in -- built on what happened in China a couple weeks back. The president is in a positive mood about this. I, myself, am very encouraged. Because, look, at the end of the day, George, growth. This is good for growth. This helps our farmers. Our renters. Our businesses. I think this is good for Chinese growth, too. To be clear, is there an agreement or not? There's no agreement for a deal. We never anticipated one. There's a communique between the two great countries. That's all. In that communique, you can see where we're going next, Wilbur Ross is going to China. Commerce secretary. He'll be looking into a number of areas where we'll have greatly significant increases. Energy, for example. Lng, for example. Agriculture. Manufacturing. As the tariffs come down and the barriers come down, that gives us an opportunity for greatly increased export sales. And -- you know, you have to trust but verify Ronald Reagan taught me that a long time ago. I like the direction we're going in. There's also no mention in the communique of the Chinese telecom firm zte. The president tweeted last week business. They have been subject to sanctions. A bipartisan consensus on capitol hill that that would be a mistake. Where does that stand? President XI asked president trump to take another look at it.ay be part of the overall trade discussion. But it really is an enforcement action. A legal enforcement action. The process being run by the commerce and justice department. I don't know how this is going to turn out. Wilbur Ross is having a careful look at this. Let me just say with as much clarity as possible, if any of the remedies are altered, they're still going to be very, very tough. Including big firings, compliance measures. New management, new boards. The question is whether there are perhaps some small changes around the edges. I think president trump is doing this because there's good tween him and China. Do not, please, do not expect zte to get off scot-free. Ain't gonna happen. I also want ask you about a headline in "The Washington post" yesterday. I want to put it up here. It has to do with Amazon. Talking about president trump personally pushing the postmaster general to double rates on Amazon and other firms. The president has tweeted about Amazon a lot, as well. Is it appropriate for the president to be singling out companies like this? Well, look. I'm not -- that's not in my lane, okay. I can't really comment specifically. I haven't looked at that. It comes under the national economic council, doesn't it? I suppose so. I haven't been involved in that discussion. Look. The president is a man of many opinions. I think you know that. I think we all know that. It's up to him. He may be carrying this ball. I can't comment directly on it. George, I want to go back to a kudlow theme, if you let me for a minute. The American economy is growing very nicely. 3%. They said it couldn't be done, some of the critics. The tax cuts are working. The rollback regulation is working. These trade opening deals, if we can effect them successfully, including the technology pieces, that will help economic growth. The Atlanta feds gdp now estimate is 4% in the second quarter. I would be more than happy with a 3% handle. Things are going very, very well. There's a lot of good news in the economy. Let me push you on that just one more time. You are the chair of the national economic council. As the chair of the economic council, when the president's opinions are at odds with the facts, for example when he said that Amazon -- the post office is losing billions to Amazon and tax payers are paying for it, isn't that your responsibility to advise him of the facts? If he asked me directly, it would be. A lot of people looked at the numbers. There are many opinions about the validity of many different numbers, George. That's really all I can say. My plate, taxes, regulations, China trade. I have not been deeply involved in Amazon. President may feel, look, he may feel that there's unfairness going on here. And, as you know, there's been some back and forth about the role of Mr. Bezos, who I know, actually, and his "Washington post" ownership. I can't go down there. In specifics. I know you want to dig into it. It's just not my story. My story is growth. I'm going to let you go. Let me make a final point. That's what a lot of people are concerned about. They look at the facts and they say that Amazon has not cost the postal service any money and the president is targeting them because Jeff bezos owns "The Washington post." Even though that has nothing to do with Amazon and that that is inappropriate. I have seen the figures offense and defense. I have seen numbers. We could probably do this on both sides. A lot of numbers, by the way, have not been made available. We'll see. All I know is, America is prospering. And if we can fix the technology stealing, which is so important in the China story, and we can get these market openings, this will be good for American export sales. I think it's good for Chinese growth. We will have come a long way. And the president is now very much behind our trade mission. I believe every single American, really, every single American, George, will benefit from open trade, lower barriers, and technology protection. And by the way, tax cuts and cutbacks of regulation are playing a major positive mood. We're in the 3% zone, George. My pals. I have a lot of friends on the other side of the aisle, they told me we couldn't get there. We're there. I hope we stay. Thank you for your time. "Roundtable" is is up next. Stay.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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