By Justin Chermol

With global trade talks taking center stage in Washington, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said on Thursday that President Trump was taking an appropriate hard-line approach in negotiations with China.

In an exclusive interview with Cheddar's J.D. Durkin, the Louisiana Republican called China the "real problem of the world" and explained why he considers China to constitute such a threat to the United States.

"China steals our intellectual property; China cheats on rules that are already in place; they dump products," Scalise said. "A lot of our friends around the world would like to see us focus on China, and frankly, I'm glad the President's also focused on China."

Scalise made his comments as President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met met at the White House after two days of talks between trade negotiators for the two countries. In comments to reporters, Trump said that a deal between the U.S. and China isn’t imminent, but that a “very monumental” agreement may be announced in about a month.

Trump went onto cite sweeping benefits from the deal the U.S. is trying to negotiate. “It’ll be a great deal for our farmers," he said. "Technology, intellectual property theft — everything is covered. There’s not a thing that’s not covered.”

As for such a future deal, Scalise called for fairness and reciprocity between the world's largest economies: "If it works, it'll be very good for America's economy," he said. "Look, right now, China is struggling in their economic growth. China needs America more than America needs China."

President Trump further articulated this message earlier Thursday: "Our economy is way up. China is not way up."

The Louisiana-native represents the district that holds the Port of New Orleans - a central port for products coming from China and into the United States. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, total exports to China threatened by new tariffs exceed $7 billion.

Scalise has an acute view of the potential impact of the trade war with China. Adjacent to Scalise's district sits the Port of Louisiana, where massive amounts of goods pass from the Gulf of Mexico into the the Mississippi River, and ultimately throughout the continental United States. Louisiana also exports more than $7 billion in products to China each year, which could be threatened by new tariffs on China.

Nevertheless, Scalise expressed confidence in the President's ability to push for trade deals, like the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement and the one Trump is trying to reach with China.

"We ought to be able to have a reciprocal agreement where you can sell your products here, we sell ours there, and then let's go focus on the real problem of the world, and that's China."

For full interview click here.