U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday some tariffs on China inherited from the administration of former President Donald Trump served “no strategic purpose” and added that President Joe Biden was reviewing them as a way to bring down inflation.
Another Biden administration official, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, added that the president was also evaluating a pause on federal gas tax as an option to bring down prices.
The comments from the officials on Sunday come as the Biden administration struggles to tackle inflation and record high gasoline prices.
“President Biden is reviewing tariff policy toward China,” Yellen said in an interview on Sunday with ABC News.
“We all recognize that China engages in a range of unfair trade practices that is important to address but the tariffs we inherited, some serve no strategic purpose and raise cost to consumers,” she added. She did not list any specific tariffs and declined to say when the Biden administration may make a decision.
Biden has said he is considering removing some of the tariffs imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods by his predecessor in 2018 and 2019 amid a bitter trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
Granholm told CNN that a pause on federal gas tax was “not off the table”.
Both Granholm and Yellen reiterated Biden’s stance that a recession was “not inevitable”, with the treasury secretary saying that labor market and consumer spending remained strong.
Whether the United States, the world’s largest economy, will slip into a recession has been a growing concern for chief executives, the Federal Reserve, and the Biden administration.
“The labor market is very strong, arguably the strongest of the post-war period,” Yellen told ABC News. She added, however, she expected the economy to slow while acknowledging that inflation was “unacceptably high.”
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