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US tariffs on China are working: US Secretary of Commerce

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Tariffs are forcing China to pay attention to US concerns, according to a copy of a speech to be given by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Thursday.

[SYDNEY] Tariffs are forcing China to pay attention to US concerns, according to a copy of a speech to be given by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Thursday.

Mr Ross said the United States would have preferred not to implement tariffs against Chinese goods more than a year ago, which ignited a trade war that slowed global commerce and threatened decades-old systems, but added that it has forced Beijing into action.

"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," Mr Ross was quoted as saying in a copy of a speech seen by Reuters.

Mr Ross is on an official visit to Australia.

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Top US and Chinese trade and economic officials will meet in Washington on Thursday and Friday to try to end a 15-month-old trade war.

Without significant breakthrough, Mr Trump is set to hike the tariff rate on US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 per cent from 25 per cent next Tuesday.

Negotiators had made no progress in deputy-level trade talks held on Monday and Tuesday in Washington, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) said, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the meetings.

The two sides have been at loggerheads over US demands that China improve protections of American intellectual property, end cyber theft and the forced transfer of technology to Chinese firms, curb industrial subsidies and increase US companies' access to largely closed Chinese markets.

REUTERS