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Kudlow: No tariff talks yet with China, but 'this is not a trade war'

  • National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow says the U.S. is open to trade talks with China, but no formal discussions have begun.
  • The administration said Thursday night it was looking at another list of Chinese goods that might get slapped with large tariffs.
  • "This is not a trade war," Kudlow insists as the markets traverse through yet another volatile day.
Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, speaks to reporters outside the White House April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.
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Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, speaks to reporters outside the White House April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Tariff negotiations with China have not started, though the White House hopes they will bear some fruit and prevent a trade war, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday.

"They have not really begun yet," Kudlow, President Donald Trump's chief economic advisor, told Bloomberg Television. "China's response to our complaints ... has been unsatisfactory."

Markets were on edge again after the Trump administration announced Thursday night it was exploring another package of tariffs against Chinese goods.

However, Kudlow stressed that no new duties have been implemented, and talks with the Chinese will continue for several months before anything is done. He said there is always an open line of communication with China, but no formal tariff talks have begun.

"This is a moderate, tempered approach that we are taking," he said. "This is not a trade war."

Earlier in the week, Kudlow's comments insisting that the U.S. is not looking to provoke a major confrontation with China helped sooth a jittery market that staged a 700-point swing Wednesday in the Dow industrials.

He reiterated Friday the U.S. concern over China stealing U.S. intellectual property, particularly in technology.

"There's no secret here. They've got enormous trade and tariff barriers," he said. "They've got to stop their stealing of the intellectual property that we try to use in any company around the world. Those are good places to start."

Kudlow, a fomer CNBC special contributor, succeeded Gary Cohn as Trump's top economic advisor. Cohn, who opposed imposition of tariffs, resigned in March.