Brussels – The director of the White House National Economic Council on Sunday staunchly defended US President Donald Trump's use of targeted tariffs against China, while insisting the president ultimately “wants to have no tariffs” on the European Union.
“You know, if they're targeted for good purpose, as per China, I think the answer is absolutely yes,” Larry Kudlow said of imposing trade duties during an interview on CNN's State of the Union. “That's always been my view. Most free traders agree. China has not played by the rules. And the trading system is broken, largely because of them.”
“Now, I hope we get to our EU trade deal,” Kudlow said. “The president has adopted a view with which I completely agree. He's a free trader. And he wants to have no tariffs.”
Kudlow expressed cautious optimism coming out of Trump's meeting last week at the White House with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to hash out trade disputes. “If the deal works through nicely – and it's going to be several stages – I don't think there will be steel tariffs for the European Union. I don't think there will be automobile tariffs,” Kudlow said, cautioning, though: “I don't want to get ahead of it.”
At their meeting at the White House, Trump and Juncker agreed to halt plans for new tariffs and negotiate trade practices in an attempt to diffuse rising trade tensions. The Trump administration had slapped duties on European steel and aluminium imports, prompting retaliatory tariffs from the EU on roughly $3.3 billion in US goods.