WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) – Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin says the Trump administration is talking with Chinese officials and willing to negotiate to resolve the ongoing trade dispute.

President Donald Trump dismissed the possibility of a trade war during a radio interview Friday morning.

“We’ve already lost the trade war. We don’t’ have a trade war,” he said. “We’ve lost the trade war.”

Thursday night, however, the president announced he’s considering an additional $100 billion in new tariffs against China. 

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said there is still time for the two countries to work out a deal.

“I’m still optimistic, by the way, that the Chinese recognize that the rest of the world is on our side,” he said.

China’s foreign ministry said in a statement, “We do not want to fight, but we are not afraid to fight a trade war.”

The $50 billion in tariffs announced earlier this week won’t take effect until at least mid-May. A public comment period will last until May 11, with a hearing set for May 15.

China said it won’t implement tariffs unless the U.S. does first.

Meanwhile, the latest round of sanctions against Russia announced Friday target Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, including a man believed to be his son-in-law, Putin’s bodyguard and the head of Russia’s national security council.

The U.S. Treasury Department is punishing seven oligarchs, 12 companies they own, 17 senior government officials and a state-owned weapons trading company. The sanctions prohibit American companies from doing business with them and freezes their assets in U.S. jurisdiction.

“What we would like to see is the totality of the Russian behavior change, and we want to continue having conversations,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

When it comes to embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, the White House is conducting a review of ethical questions surrounding him, though Sanders on Friday reaffirmed the president thinks Pruitt is doing a good job. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined others saying he should be fired.


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