The White House was pessimistic Wednesday on whether progress could be made with China on trade issues, saying no future talks have been set and that Beijing has shown no willingness to budge on its policies.
President Trump, when asked on the Fox Business Network whether there is hope for a breakthrough, said he didn't see any. "I don't think so. I mean, I told them 'They want to make a deal?' I said you guys aren't ready yet. You're just not ready."
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow noted that Trump would "probably" meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month at the G20 summit in Argentina. "We will see whether that person-to-person diplomacy brings any benefits. I think it is always better to talk than to not talk," Kudlow said on Fox Business, but added he had become "very cynical because we have given our ask and China does not respond. I worry that they are moving in the wrong direction."
[Opinion: Trump is blaming China for the trade war's consequences, but he must fix the problem he created]
Kudlow added that if China was waiting for the November election in the hope that Democratic gains in Congress would give them a stronger bargaining position with the White House, they were "miscalculating." Trump will not budge, no matter the composition of Congress, he said, adding that Democrats generally share his views on trade.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was less negative about the situation on CNBC, but conceded that no progress was being made. "I don't know that I would call it a continued impasse. We are where we are. And in any negotiation, there are ups and downs. There are hiatuses, and there are much more active periods. So, it appears as though we may be in something of a hiatus now."
The comments came as the White House announced its latest move to counter China on trade by threatening to pull out of the United Nations' Universal Postal Union on the grounds that it offers rates that are too preferential to countries including China.