Biden administration will keep China tariffs for now

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News



On Monday, in a speech given to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai outlined the Biden administration’s vision for U.S.-China economic relations.

The overall goal, Tai said, was to realign U.S. trade policies and reopen discussions with China. It was unclear whether the plan would be to expand or reject the policies of former President Donald Trump and the ambassador did not offer specific.  

Tai announced the tariffs imposed by Trump would stay in place for now. She did not rule out imposing additional sanctions, and indicated that the existing trade agreement, known as Phase One, would serve as the starting point for negotiations. However, Tai also pledged to reopen an exemption process through which select Chinese companies can earn tariff relief.

“For too long, China’s lack of adherence to global trading norms has undercut the prosperity of Americans and others around the world,” Tai said. “It is increasingly clear that China’s plans do not include meaningful reforms to address the concerns that have been shared by the United States and many other countries.”

To call Tai’s remarks heavy handed would be an overstatement. Her more foreboding remarks were paired with assurances that the Biden administration did not want to “inflame trade tensions with China”.

On Monday, Tai’s office released an expansive collection of statements of support for the Biden plan from politicians, media, and labor leaders. 

This morning, Ambassador Tai laid out a clear, comprehensive strategy for the U.S. – China trade relationship in a manner that supports U.S. workers while growing and strengthening the U.S. economy,” Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said. “I welcome the strategy Ambassador Tai outlined today and look forward to working with USTR and President Biden to implement this smart, pro-America vision.”

While effusive, the praise contained no Republican voices.