Biden says he’s making up his mind about the Trump-era US tariffs on China

Biden says he’s making up his mind about the Trump-era US tariffs on China
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to the media as he arrives in Newcastle, Delaware, U.S., March 26, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Files

With inflation running at a four-decade high, triggering a 75 basis point rate hike last week, the US is in the midst of reconfiguring some of the US tariffs on China that were imposed by the Trump administration on around US$300 billion of imported goods. Talking to reporters on Saturday, Biden said he’s still making up his mind on whether to lift any of the tariffs and that he would be speaking to China’s President Xi Jinping “soon." Lifting the tariffs would help companies that use these goods lower their production cost, hopefully bringing down retail prices and ultimately helping reduce the soaring prices from inflation seen right now.

Biden didn’t mention any concrete timeline for speaking with President Xi, but chatter surrounding the talks suggests a phone call could come as early as July, but any in-person talks wouldn’t be until later this year after the CCP’s congress. Their last phone call was on March 18, where Biden warned Xi of “consequences" should China directly aid Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, and Xi warned Biden about the US mishandling the “Taiwan question."

Key comments:

“We’re in the process of doing that," Biden told reporters over the weekend when asked about lifting any tariffs on China. “I’m in the process of making up my mind."

“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," said US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday in an interview with ABC News.