China has 'picked up its game' on trade, Kudlow says

Kudlow said the U.S.-China trade deal is on, 'no question about it'

Senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday said that China has "picked up its game" on trade, including addressing U.S. concerns over the theft of intellectual property.

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"That's been our view," Kudlow said during an interview with FOX Business' Stuart Varney. "They've actually picked up their game. It's not just commodity buying, although that is picking up too. It's some of the structural issues, like IP theft."

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Kudlow's comments came one day after Peter Navarro, President Trump's trade adviser, said during a Fox News interview that the trade deal between the world's two largest economies is "over."

Trump, Kudlow and Navarro have walked back those comments, with the president tweeting Tuesday that the trade deal is "fully intact."

"If you're in the arena, if you're doing the media stuff a lot, you're going to let one or two get away," Kudlow said. "I think it's happened to all of us. I've known Peter Navarro a long time. He's a very smart guy. He's working hard for the president. I think he misspoke, and then I think he straightened it out. The trade deal is on, no question about it."

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In a later statement, Navarro said his comments "had been taken wildly out of context."

"They had nothing at all to do with the Phase I trade deal, which continues in place," he said. "I was simply speaking to the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party after they lied about the origins of the China virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world."

Relations between China and the U.S. have iced over since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year, with the two nations engaging in a vicious war of words. The feud over the virus has spilled into a broader fight over trade and technology.

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The Chinese government has been widely criticized for its initial response to the virus and is frequently attacked by Trump.

A recent report, whose authors include an expert from Wuhan's Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found that if China had taken aggressive action just a week earlier in mid-January, the number of infections could have been reduced by two-thirds.

The disease, first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan last year, has spread across the world, infecting more than 9 million people and killing more than 470,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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