Top White House economist dismisses trade war fears

The top White House economist on Thursday sought to tamp down fears of growing trade tensions between the U.S. and China and insisted that Trump administration officials are united behind the president’s agenda.

Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters that the importance of fighting for more fair trade terms with China shouldn’t be overshadowed by fears of economic harm triggered by retaliation.

“We need to move toward a world where trade barriers around the world come down, not just for us, but for our trading partners,” Hassett told reporters at a Washington, D.C., breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

“The objectives are sometimes lost as people think about what’s the worst thing that could possibly happen.”

Hassett’s remarks come as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer prepare for a trip to China to seek a way to ease trade tensions.

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