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LARRY KUDLOW: We'll talk with China when they're ready for 'serious' negotiations

President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, says the U.S. is ready to negotiate with China on trade as long as they’re open to “serious talks to remedy trade problems.” 

“We are ready to negotiate and talk with China anytime that they are ready for serious and substantive negotiations,” Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said at an event hosted by the Economic Club of New York.

Larry Kudlow REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Kudlow said the administration wants open markets that allow the U.S. to export more goods and services. He added that China can no longer permit the theft of intellectual property and the forced transfer of valuable technologies. Another objective is to push for American ownership of American companies in China.

Kudlow noted that the trading system around the world is “broken.”

“And it’s been broken, maybe for as much as 20 years” he added, noting that it began post World War II as a good system “governed by rules” and “people essentially played by the rules.”

He added that free trade is a “great concept.”

“I certainly support it, have my whole career, and continue to do so. But free trade has to be fair trade, it has to be reciprocal trade,” Kudlow said. “What we’re seeing, you’re seeing, is countries are raising tariffs, non-tariff barriers, subsidies.”

He characterized the World Trade Organization as “dysfunctional,” and he pointed to China as the “biggest culprit” but not the only culprit for this dysfunction.

“People are blaming the president. I say, ‘Do not blame Trump this.’ He inherited this trading. He’s trying to fix it. He is a reformer. It’s not an easy task,” Kudlow said, pleading with the room to give Trump a “chance.”

Trump is expected to announce tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

“Trump’s not satisfied,” Kudlow later said, adding that he guesses an announcement is “coming soon.”

“I don’t want to front run [Trump] on it,” Kudlow said.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter. Send tips to laroche@oath.com.