The US-China conundrum: Larry Summers

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said America has an inalienable right to police unfair trade practices by major trading partners.

“We, in the United States, need to be very clear, we are entitled and we are right to reject Chinese cheating, Chinese violation of the rules, rules that don't cover unfair practices,” Summers said during an interview on FOX Business’ “WSJ At Large With Gerry Baker” on Friday. ”We're right when we’re against that.”

President Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit this week in Buenos Aires, Argentina amidst the intensifying trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Before boarding Marine One in Washington to depart for Argentina on Thursday, Trump said China and the U.S. were “very close” to a trade deal adding, “I don’t know if we want to do it. I’m open to making a deal, but frankly, I like the deal we have now.”

The Trump administration has been pushing Beijing to reconsider some of its economic policies and intellectual property practices.

Officials have been carefully downplaying expectations of any kind of a deal at the meeting, setting the stage for what appears to be a further escalation of the trade battle.

Summers said the U.S. risks losing its objectivity and accuracy when it downplays China’s economic success.

“When our position is, that China can't succeed and that China is not allowed to succeed or it's somehow wrong for China to succeed, that's an untenable position for us politically and an untenable position for us economically,” he said.

Summers served as Treasury secretary under former President Bill Clinton and director of the National Economic Council for former President Barack Obama. He is president emeritus of Harvard University.

You can catch the full interview with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers on FOX Business’ “WSJ At Large With Gerry Baker” starting at 9:30 p.m. ET Friday.