Trump’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow (it’s still a shock) did not get the memo that Beijing vocally denied last night’s “fake news” report that it was ready to slash the US trade deficit with China, and speaking to reporters at the White House, the former CNBC commentator said China offered to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S. by “at least $200 billion” in talks to head off a possible trade war, according to Bloomberg.
As a reminder, this is patently false as China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang politely told a news briefing this morning, flatly stating that “this rumor is not true. This I can confirm to you” adding “the question is about some US officials who said China will cut the deficit. As I understand, the relevant consultations are ongoing and they are constructive.”
Commentary posted bu Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily overseas edition was less polite and said that the offer to cut China’s trade surplus with the U.S. is “nonexistent” and that reports that China accepted the U.S. demand to narrow the trade gap are “purely a misreading.” also known as fake news.
The article said that China will “never negotiate under the conditions set by the U.S.” and added that “two sides made progress in areas such as the U.S. allowing more exports of technology products including semiconductors, as well as lifting restrictions on energy exports” but stressed that “China won’t make unilateral concessions.”
However, none of these facts bothered Larry, who boldly continued making up stuff: “The number’s a good number,” Kudlow said. “I think just as important, they have to lower their tariff rates, they have to lower their non-tariff barriers. We have to have a verifiable process whereby the technology transfers and the theft of intellectual property stops.”
Then, Larry – who may or may not have been under the influence, once again confirmed the trade surplus offer supposedly made by China – which China explicitly denied – but declined to detail it. “They’re showing us some substance, and that’s a sign of respect. It’s a constructive approach.”
Actually, they said exactly the opposite, but Larry went on:
“China’s come to trade; they are meeting many of our demands,” he said, continuing this fantastically bizarre nonsense.
The one thing that Larry said that was true, was the following: “There’s no deal yet to be sure – it’s probably going to take awhile. It’s a process. But they’re coming to play”, and added hopefully “I believe they want to make a deal.”
Instead of grappling with the futile task of who is the bigger source of “fake news”, China or the Trump administration, we are more curious how many dry martinis Larry had for lunch.