White House takes softer stance on trade

By , 25/04/2020 19:36

Trade adviser Peter Navarro (file) says the metal tariffs can be implemented without a trade war.US President Donald Trump’s tough approach to global trade, including his new tariffs on metals imports, will not necessarily provoke a trade war, the White House’s top adviser on international economic exchanges says.

“We can obviously do it in a way that can be good for the American people and good for the global trading system,” Peter Navarro, said during an interview on CNBC on Thursday.

“We can do this in a way that is peaceful and will improve and strengthen the trading system…. Everybody on Wall Street needs to understand: Just relax.”

Trump in coming weeks will get recommendations to address China’s “theft and forced transfer” of American intellectual property, Navarro also said.

“This will be one of the steps – one of the many steps – that the president is courageously going to take in order to address unfair trade practices,” Navarro told CNBC, referring to the US trade representative’s “Section 301” investigation into China’s intellectual property practices.

“I don’t think there’s a single person … on Wall Street that will oppose cracking down on China’s theft of our intellectual property or their forced transfer,” Navarro said.

Navarro did not detail the options the administration was considering.

Meanwhile US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom have agreed to meet next week in an attempt to resolve a deepening dispute over trade tariffs, a European Commission source said.

Ross and Malmstrom spoke on the telephone on Thursday and discussed US plans to impose import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, the source said.

Malmstrom repeated the EU’s hope that it would be exempted, given that the bloc is a close security ally of the US, and said the two should work together on the issue of global overcapacity, which was harming both economies.

Trump, who has cited national security for imposing the tariffs, has already offered exemptions to Canada and Mexico.

Ross and Malmstrom agreed to meet next week although details of the talks remain to be set, the Commission source said.

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