Biden Rips A Page Out Of Trump’s China Playbook In Effort To Look Tough On Beijing

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Jake Smith Contributor
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The Biden administration is preparing to keep the former Trump administration’s playbook on China tariffs in place in an effort to look tough on Beijing, Axios reported on Friday.

President Joe Biden and his administration is likely to keep most of the Trump-era $300 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports in place in 2024, and may increase taxes on some imports, three sources close to the matter told Axios. Biden is attempting to look strong on China going into the 2024 election season as his critics and his biggest political opponent, former President Donald Trump, accuse him of being “soft” with Beijing. (RELATED: Even More Foreign Investors Fled China In December Amid Ailing Economy)

Among considerations being made are whether to raise tariffs on electric vehicles and vital minerals like cobalt and lithium in exchange for lower tariffs on U.S. consumer goods, sources told Axios. Overall, the total tariff amount is likely to stay in the $300 billion range set by the former Trump administration.

Final details are still being considered over but a formal decision is expected to be announced by February, the sources told Axios.

Biden and his administration started deliberating over which tariffs should be applied to Chinese imports over a year ago; the administration considered lowering some duties throughout 2022 to combat inflation on U.S. consumer goods, according to Axios. However, labor unions were unsatisfied with this and demanded Biden keep Trump’s existing tariffs in place.

Pressure ultimately caused the administration to cave and not alter any of the existing duties at the time, according to Axios. A mandatory four-year review of the tariffs compelled the Biden administration to look at alterations again, a process that was expected to be wrapped by the end of 2023 but wasn’t.

Biden has backed legislation that aims to bring supply chains away from China and into the U.S., such as the Chips and Science Act that invests $280 into the domestic research and production of semiconductors. He has also imposed export controls on semiconductors to China and signed an executive order regulating outbound investments into the Chinese technology sector.

At the same time, the Biden administration continues to maintain that these measures are not meant to hinder Beijing and that the U.S. should not seek to economically “de-couple” with China.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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