U.S. President Donald Trump is prepared to hike tariffs on Chinese imports if there is no breakthrough on longstanding trade irritants during a Saturday night dinner with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday.
Days ahead of the high-stakes dinner, it was unclear whether the two sides had agreed on a formal agenda for the leaders’ meeting after the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, and Kudlow said there were no scheduled talks on the ground for their advisers.
The White House sees the dinner, which Kudlow hinted would involve Argentinian beef, as an opportunity to “turn the page” on a trade war with China. But he said the White House has been disappointed so far in the Chinese response to trade issues.
“Their responses have disappointed because … we can’t find much change in their approach,” he said, declining to comment on specifics.
“President Xi has an opportunity to change the tone and the substance of these talks,” he told a small group of reporters at a briefing at the White House. “President Trump has indicated he is open – now we need to know if President Xi is open.”