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The U.S. can be ‘smart’ to chop tariffs on China, says former commerce negotiator

Larger U.S. tariffs on Chinese language items damage American companies and shoppers, and it will be “smart” to chop these levies, a former American diplomat and commerce negotiator stated Thursday.

If each international locations had been to cut back tariffs on one another, their relationship might enhance, stated Frank Lavin, a former U.S. ambassador to Singapore and undersecretary of Commerce for worldwide commerce.

He informed CNBC {that a} “mutual discount” in tariffs would additionally permit the U.S. to handle longstanding considerations about China’s commerce practices.

Lavin was requested what recommendation he would give to the Biden administration on its coverage towards China.

“I’d say do not step away from the difficulty, there’s some critical commerce points there and I feel quite a lot of President Trump’s criticisms had been legitimate so do not drop that agenda,” Lavin, now chief govt and founding father of consultancy Export Now, informed CNBC’s “Avenue Indicators Asia.”

Flags of the U.S. and China displayed on a desk forward of a gathering.

Jason Lee | AFP | Getty Photographs

“However I do assume that in the identical breath it will be smart to take away the tariffs as a result of the tariffs damage American companies, American shoppers, American staff simply as they damage the Chinese language economic system,” he added.

U.S.-China commerce tensions escalated beneath former President Donald Trump, with either side slapping larger tariffs on one another’s items price billions of {dollars}. The commerce dispute has since spilled into know-how and finance.

President Joe Biden’s administration has signaled that it’ll proceed to be powerful on China. U.S. Commerce Consultant Katherine Tai stated final week the administration is conducting “a complete evaluate” of its commerce coverage with China.  

Corporations from the U.S. and different international locations have lengthy complained about unequal entry to the Chinese language markets, lack of mental property safety and compelled know-how switch.

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Chinese language President Xi Jinping has stated Beijing will proceed to work with different international locations and minimize tariffs — although he didn’t particularly point out the U.S. by identify.

Nonetheless, Lavin stated the U.S. might maintain Xi to his phrase in pursuing a discount in tariffs and improved relationship.

“So I might say if we will simply have a mutual discount in these tariffs, we’ll have a greater working relationship,” stated Lavin. “After which let’s begin tackling a few of these commerce points one after the other and assist China transfer to world norms.”

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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