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U.S. Business White House adviser Peter Navarro urges patience in U.S.-China trade talks

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.

LEAH MILLIS/Reuters

A senior White House adviser tamped down expectations on Tuesday for the next rounds of U.S.-China trade talks, 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,” Navarro said on CNBC.

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

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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 with their U.S. counterparts in mid-September in Washington before minister-level meetings in early October in the U.S. capital, involving Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

U.S. tariffs of 15 per cent on about $125 million worth of goods took effect on Sept. 1, and tariffs on virtually all remaining Chinese imports, including cellphones and laptop computers, are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 15. Tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods are due to rise by 5 percentage points to 30 per cent on Oct. 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 South China Morning Post reported, citing an unidentified source, that China was expected to buy more agricultural products in hopes of a better trade deal with the United States.

American and Chinese trade officials would discuss a deal based on a draft text that was negotiated in April before the talks broke down in May, the Hong Kong-based newspaper said.

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Mnuchin said on Monday that currency manipulation would also be discussed after formally declaring that Beijing was manipulating its yuan for a trade advantage.

“In the meantime, we need to be patient with the China negotiations,” Navarro told CNBC.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday levied preliminary antisubsidy duties of 104 per cent to 222 per cent on Chinese-made ceramic tiles, a popular item in U.S. home improvement stores.

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

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