White House adviser plays down expectations for US-China talks

Peter Navarro says current US tariffs against China 'working beautifully'.

    Peter Navarro, director of the US National Trade Council, said that tariffs on Chinese goods is the country's 'best insurance policy' when negotiating with China [File: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg]
    Peter Navarro, director of the US National Trade Council, said that tariffs on Chinese goods is the country's 'best insurance policy' when negotiating with China [File: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg]

    A senior White House adviser tamped down expectations on Tuesday for the next rounds of trade talks between the United States and China, urging investors, businesses and the public to be patient about resolving the two-year trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

    "If we're going to get a great result, we really have to let the process take its course," Peter Navarro said on US TV network CNBC.

    US President Donald Trump's administration is seeking sweeping changes to China's policies and practices on intellectual property protection, the forced transfer of US technology to Chinese firms, American companies' access to China's markets and industrial subsidies.

    Trump has imposed stiff tariffs on Chinese imports that have roiled global markets. China has retaliated with its own duties.

    Chinese trade deputies are expected to meet their US counterparts in mid-September in Washington before minister-level meetings in early October in the US capital, involving Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

    US tariffs of 15 percent on about $125bn worth of goods took effect on September 1, and tariffs on virtually all remaining Chinese imports, including cellphones and laptop computers, are scheduled to take effect on December 15.

    Tariffs on $250bn worth of goods are due to rise by 5 percentage points to 30 percent on October 1.

    Navarro said the tariffs were "working beautifully".

    "People need to understand this: The tariffs on China are our best defence against China's economic aggression and best insurance policy - this is important - the best insurance policy that China will continue to negotiate in good faith," he said.

    The US Chamber of Commerce called for a high-standard comprehensive agreement to lift the uncertainty.

    "The time is now to strike a deal that addresses the US's legitimate concerns about market access, forced technology transfer, subsidies, and digital trade, while concurrently removing punitive and retaliatory tariffs," US Chamber International Affairs Director Myron Brilliant said in remarks to an audience in Beijing.

    "Without a truly effective agreement, we don't see an alternative path to re-establishing bilateral economic stability," Brilliant added.

    The US Commerce Department on Tuesday levied preliminary anti-subsidy duties of 104 percent to 222 percent on Chinese-made ceramic tiles, a popular item in US home improvement stores.

    The Commerce finding that the tile exports were unfairly subsidized affects about $483m worth of Chinese imports, which have already been hit with 25 percent tariffs.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency