Biden To Use New Tariffs Against China—and Trump

( — On Tuesday, May 14, the Biden administration announced plans to either increase or introduce tariffs on a variety of Chinese imports.

The stated reason for this move is to protect strategic American industries against competitors in China that may be unfairly subsidized by their government. Affected products would include electric cars, solar equipment, batteries, and certain medical equipment. It is a bold move to align the current White House with the public’s desire to protect American businesses, that could affect American and Chinese relations.

Biden’s administration is subsidizing many of the targeted American industries with over $1 trillion in direct investments. The director of the National Economic Council, Lael Brainard, expressed the opinion that this move would fortify integral U.S. green tech and manufacturing industries against being undercut. An additional $18 billion in tariffs is expected to affect Chinese imports. In 2024, tariffs on electric vehicle imports from China will rise from 25% to 100%. Solar cell tariffs will increase from 25% to 50%, while some medical products, like syringes and needles, will go from 0% to 50% in 2024.

Some have criticized Biden over the tariff issues, pointing out that he once condemned then President Trump over the tariffs he implemented on Chinese imports. At the time, Biden claimed that Americans would be the ones paying for the tariffs. Adam Hodge, of communications firm Bully Pulpit International in Washington, commented that there is a growing awareness that Chinese trade practices have cost many Americans their jobs. He calls the tariffs “smart politics” to show understanding of what communities across the country are experiencing. The move does bring Biden’s policies in line with Trump’s on an issue many voters consider critical.

Former general counsel for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Greta Peisch, says the trade situation with China has evolved. Earlier, there was hope that China would become a free market over time, but she says they have gone in the opposite direction. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed hope there will not be a significant Chinese response to the increased tariffs. However, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, suggests the move may violate World Trade Organization rules. He added that Beijing had not yet determined how it would respond to the changes.

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