There were rumors that Trump’s administration declined, or cancelled, a second deputy-level meeting with China on trade. The meeting was intended for preparation on the top level meeting between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. There were various versions of the rumor. But the key message was that the US is not satisfied with the lack of concrete progress on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer. China’s offer to buy more goods from the US is simply not enough.

But White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow came out denying the rumor and said there was “no cancellation”. And he maintained the high-level meeting later this month between Lighthizer and Liu was “very, very important” and “determinative.” And, “There were no other intermediate meetings scheduled,” while “The story is unchanged. We are moving towards negotiations.”

Yet, Kudlow also emphasized that “enforcement is absolutely crucial to the success of these talks.” “Promises are great but enforcement is what we want — things like deadlines and timetables and full coverage of the various structural issues,” he said. “Will this all be solved at the end of the month? I don’t know. I wouldn’t dare to predict.”

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