Trump adviser: Washington, Beijing is about to sign a “historic agreement”

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his speech next to U.S. and Chinese flags as he and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet business leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The United States and China are on the brink of signing a “landmark agreement” that will force Beijing to stop subsidies to state-owned enterprises, a White House adviser said on Thursday.

Larry Kudlo told CNBC that a meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, would be held in late March.

“Progress (in the negotiations) was amazing … I think we are heading towards a historic agreement,” he said.

He disclosed that the files worked out by the negotiators included “a part related to the easing (China’s economic program) of 2025, and a significant reduction in Chinese subsidies.”

Beijing launched in 2015 the “Made in China 2025” plan, aiming to make China the world’s most powerful producer of future technology industries such as artificial intelligence and alternative energy vehicles.

To achieve this, China is subsidizing its state-owned enterprises to make it the world’s strongest in the field, which Trump’s management deplores that the United States is losing its leading position in the technology industry to China.

Reviewing the 2025 program means China agrees to change its economic strategy and reduce the role of the state in its economy, a hypothesis that many Western experts question.

Given the sensitivity of the issue, Larry Kudlo said that an agreement between China and the United States would not be made without the prior approval of the highest levels of the Chinese government.

Kudlo’s comments come after comments by chief US negotiator Robert Laitheiser that “much remains to be done” before signing an agreement between the world’s two biggest economic powers.

Kudlo also said that “real progress” had been made in the negotiations, stressing that the agreement would address all sensitive issues, including the question of the Chinese currency, where Americans say that the Chinese deliberately reduce the value of the yuan to enhance their exports.

Kudlo stressed that if no manipulation of the Chinese currency was proved, the Americans would work to obtain an agreement that the Chinese should inform the US administration of “every market intervention” carried out by the central bank.

Negotiations with China resumed at the beginning of the year. Trump decided to extend the time limit to China before imposing a tariff increase on March 1, stressing that negotiations were progressing.

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