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White House trade advisor Peter Navarro: 'Complicated' US-China talks 'will take time'

Key Points
  • U.S.-China trade talks may have restarted, but a potential deal is still a ways off, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro tells CNBC.
  • "We had a deal that was over 150 pages long with seven different chapters" at the time the negotiations flamed out, Navarro says on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," which is "the basis now for moving further forward."
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said last week that the U.S. had been "90% of the way" on China. But Navarro cautions that "this will take time, and we want to get it right."
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro listens to a news conference about a presidential executive order relating to military veterans outside of the West Wing of the White House in Washington, March 4, 2019.
Leah Millis | Reuters

U.S.-China trade talks may have restarted, but a potential deal is still a long way off, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro told CNBC on Tuesday.

Negotiations between the two economic superpowers over issues including trade deficits, alleged intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers broke down in May. But President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to resume talks — and hold off any new tariffs on each other's goods — at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, over the weekend.

"This is a very complicated process," Navarro said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Tuesday morning.

"We had a deal that was over 150 pages long with seven different chapters" at the time the negotiations flamed out, which is "the basis now for moving further forward," he said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the U.S. had been "90% of the way" on China. But Navarro cautioned to CNBC that "this will take time, and we want to get it right."

"Let's get it right," Navarro said.

Navarro had joined the president and a coterie of senior officials at the G-20. Trump said Monday that the renewed talks with Beijing have "already begun."

Trump said that China had agreed to buy large amounts of U.S. agricultural products — purchases that Navarro said would be "immediate" and "significant."

Navarro in the CNBC interview also repeatedly talked up a bullish market outlook, and disputed whether U.S. tariffs on foreign imports, including $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, were hurting economic growth.

He predicted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would be quickly pushed above the 30,000-point mark if the U.S. passes the new trilateral trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and if the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates.

The deal, known as the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement or USMCA, which faces roadblocks in Congress from Democratic lawmakers, is "the most sophisticated and smartest deal ever written," Navarro said.