Tariffs forcing China to pay heed to US concerns: Wilbur Ross

October 10, 2019 16:54
The US would have preferred not to implement tariffs against Chinese goods more than a year ago, but was left with no choice given Beijing's inaction, Wilbur Ross says. Photo: Reuters

Tariffs are forcing China to pay attention to US concerns, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said on Thursday.

“We do not love tariffs, in fact we would prefer not to use them, but after years of discussions and no action, tariffs are finally forcing China to pay attention to our concerns,” Ross said in Sydney, Reuters reports.

“We could have had a deal two-and-a-half years ago without going through the whole tit-for-tat on tariffs that we have,” the US official was quoted as telling a business function held by the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia.

The comments came as top US and Chinese trade and economic officials are preparing to meet in Washington on Thursday and Friday to try to end an escalating dispute.

Ross said the most difficult problem to solve in trade negotiations with China is making sure that the terms of an agreement would be adhered to.

“Trade agreements historically have been very weak on enforcement,” said the US Commerce Secretary, who is on an official trip to Australia.

“Given the magnitude and the complexity of the changes we need, enforcement becomes an extremely critical component of any agreement that we make.”

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