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Biden to meet with advisers on China tariffs, decision timing unclear

CNA – United States (US) President Joe Biden was due to discuss tariffs on Chinese imports with advisers, but it was unclear when he would make a decision on whether to remove some duties to try to fight inflation, two people familiar with the deliberations said.

The White House meeting is one of several in recent weeks as Biden struggles to balance competing desires to use every lever possible to ease inflation and to maintain pressure on China to try to win concessions on Beijing’s state-driven economic policies.

The discussions surround the Section 301 tariffs imposed on some USD370 billion worth of Chinese imports by then-President Donald Trump in 2018 and 2019 over China’s alleged theft of US intellectual property.

Some in the administration, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, have argued that many of these duties are “non-strategic” and raise costs for American consumers and businesses.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai has said the tariffs are “a significant piece of leverage” in the US-China trade relationship.

Other sources close to the process have said that Biden is taking his time to work through the complex web of options and consequences, which include removing a substantial amount of tariffs goods, and cutting them from a more limited list of Chinese-made consumer products.

The White House also is considering an expanded process for approving product-specific exclusions from the tariffs and whether to pair any action with a new Section 301 investigation into China’s state subsidies and plans to dominate high-technology industries, the sources have said.

The White House had no immediate comment on the tariff discussions.

US President Joe Biden in Langley. PHOTO: AP