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

Increased U.S. tariffs on Chinese language items damage American companies and customers, and it could be “smart” to chop these levies, a former American diplomat and commerce negotiator mentioned Thursday.

If each nations have been to scale back tariffs on one another, their relationship may enhance, mentioned Frank Lavin, a former U.S. ambassador to Singapore and undersecretary of Commerce for worldwide commerce.

He instructed CNBC {that a} “mutual discount” in tariffs would additionally enable 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 severe commerce points there and I believe loads of President Trump’s criticisms have been legitimate so do not drop that agenda,” Lavin, now chief govt and founding father of consultancy Export Now, instructed 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 suppose that in the identical breath it could be smart to take away the tariffs as a result of the tariffs damage American companies, American customers, American employees simply as they damage the Chinese language financial system,” he added.

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

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

Firms from the U.S. and different nations have lengthy complained about unequal entry to the Chinese language markets, lack of mental property safety and compelled expertise switch.

Learn extra about China from CNBC Professional

Chinese language President Xi Jinping has mentioned Beijing will proceed to work with different nations and reduce tariffs — although he didn’t particularly point out the U.S. by title.

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

“So I would say if we will simply have a mutual discount in these tariffs, we will have a greater working relationship,” mentioned 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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