By David Lawder
RIYADH (Reuters) – The United States and China have come to an understanding on the direction of their trade relationship after a nearly 16-month trade war, White House adviser Jared Kushner said on Tuesday.
Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, told a panel at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “have made a fabulous deal” with Beijing.
“I think people understand the president, that he’s firm, they know that he’s going to make the decisions that he thinks are right, and I think ultimately that we’ve come to an understanding with China now on where we want to head,” Kushner said.
Kushner did not mention any details of an emerging “Phase 1” trade deal that Trump outlined on Oct. 11, covering Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods, intellectual property protections, currency practices and increased access for U.S. companies to China’s financial services market.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators are working to try to complete a text for the agreements for Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile Nov. 16-17.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Friday that Washington and Beijing are “close to finalizing” some sections of a trade agreement after a phone call between top negotiators.
Kushner acknowledged that the trade dispute with China, which has heaped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each others’ goods, has had political costs for Trump.
“All of the costs of it, the tariffs, the retaliation that people have put on, he’s paid the price for, during his presidency,” Kushner said.
But he said the trade deals that result from such disputes will bring back jobs to the United States.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Kalin in Riyadh; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)