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Trump's new economic adviser says it's possible China tariffs won't happen

China retaliates on tariffs

President Trump's new top economic adviser told reporters outside the White House Wednesday it's possible the new tariffs announced on China won't actually go into effect. 

White House Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow claimed the president is ultimately in favor of free trade, despite the president's arguably protectionist positions. Last month, the Trump administration announced it might impose new tariffs on some $50 billion worth of Chinese goods — and China says it would retaliate with their own tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. goods.

"He wants to solve this with the least amount of pain," said Kudlow, adding, "this is a growth action. I can't emphasize that enough."

In an interview on Fox Business Network's "Varney & Co." Wednesday, Kudlow pointed out that "nothing concrete has actually happened" in terms of tariffs on Chinese products. Kudlow also reminded Fox Business Network he himself is "not a fan of tariffs," but thinks the president is right on China. 

Kudlow told reporters he doesn't agree with the assertion that the U.S. is in a trade war. 

"I'd say I don't agree," Kudlow said. "Not about trade wars. This is about holding to the laws and customs of free trade and holding violators to account. It's not about war."

Mr. Trump has called trade wars are "good, and easy to win."

Mr. Trump, who campaigned on making trade deals fair, has made trade a central piece of his agenda in recent weeks. The president last month announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports — but the U.S. ultimately decided to exempt a number of nations with close ties to the U.S. The president also continues to rail against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as unfair to the U.S. Mr. Trump has threatened to pull out of the agreement entirely if Mexico doesn't improve security at the border.

CBS News' Katiana Krawchenko contributed to this report. 

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