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Kudlow defends Trump's renewal of trade talks with China

A Huawei retail store in Beijing on Sunday.

A Huawei retail store in Beijing on Sunday. Credit: AP / Andy Wong

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser defended the president’s renewal of trade talks with China and the easing of restrictions on Chinese tech firm Huawei, despite bipartisan opposition to the tech firm’s attempts to do business with American companies.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday said there was no current time frame for when trade negotiations would resume with China after talks broke down in May, but said he considered it a “very big deal” that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to renew talks after meeting at last week’s G-20 summit of world leaders in Osaka, Japan.

“Can I sit here and tell you that's all going to work out? No, we don't know that,” Kudlow said. “This is just a new first step. I always think it's better to talk than not to talk.”

Last month, the United States and China were close to reaching a new trade deal, but China walked away from the negotiations, citing concerns about provisions of the agreement that would have required China to enact legislation promising protection for American intellectual property.

Earlier in the day, Kudlow, appearing on “Fox News Sunday” said Trump was in “no rush” to deliver a new trade deal with China. 

“This is about the quality of a deal,” Kudlow said. “There is no time table. There’s no rush”

Kudlow defended Trump’s announcement that the United States would allow U.S. tech companies to sell products to Chinese tech firm Huawei, despite the Trump administration imposing a series of restrictions against such sales in May citing concerns that the company has aided the Chinese government’s surveillance efforts.

“We understand the huge risks regarding Huawei,” Kudlow told “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan, saying that Trump’s decision “is simply a loosening up for general merchandise.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have criticized Trump’s decision to ease restrictions on Huawei. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) vowed in a tweet on Saturday that if Trump follows through on his announcement, Congress will deliver a veto-proof reversal of his decision.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said Trump’s decision on Huawei “does concern me.”

“I think Huawei is a threat to the national security of America. ... I would not allow Huawei into our country, Barasso said. “To me, Huawei in the United States would be like a Trojan horse ready to steal more information from us.”

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