Biden Could Remove Some ‘Unnecessary’ China Tariffs Amid Soaring Inflation: Yellen

Biden Could Remove Some ‘Unnecessary’ China Tariffs Amid Soaring Inflation: Yellen
Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen testifies during a hearing before Senate Finance Committee at Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 7, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden is reviewing Washington’s tariff policy toward China, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday, signaling the end of some Trump-era tariffs amid record-high inflation.

“We all recognize that China engages in a range of unfair trade practices that it’s important to address. But the tariffs we inherited, some serve no strategic purpose and raise costs to consumers,” Yellen said in an interview with ABC News.

“And so, reconfiguring some of those tariffs so they make more sense and reduce some unnecessary burdens is something that’s under consideration,” she added.

Biden has previously said that his administration was considering removing some trade tariffs imposed on China as measures designed to help reduce pressure from record inflation in the United States.

Yellen said that inflation is “unacceptably high,” hitting a 40-year high of 8.6 percent in May, but that a recession was “not inevitable” as consumer spending remained strong.

“It’s President Biden’s top priority to bring it down. And [Fed] Chair [Jerome] Powell has said that his goal is to bring inflation down while maintaining a strong labor market. That’s going to take skill and luck, but I believe it’s possible,” she said.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump imposed up to 25 percent tariffs on China in 2018 to combat what he called unfair trade practices by the Chinese regime. Beijing also imposed tariffs on Washington in a retaliatory move.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on June 6 that addressing inflation is “a more complicated issue” than focusing solely on China tariffs, Reuters reported.

“The economy is large and there are a lot of pressure points and levers in that economy,” Tai said in remarks to the Washington International Trade Association.

“If we’re going to take an issue like inflation, and given the seriousness that it requires, then our approach to tools for mitigating and addressing that inflation needs to respect that it is a more complicated issue than just tariffs at the border,” she added.

The Biden administration would need to “bring a thoughtful, strategic, deliberate approach” to the U.S.–China trade relationship, which will not be easy, Tai said.

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) said that removing the China trade tariffs would take away “the only leverage that we’ve got in place right now to bring China to more normalized trade relations.”

“I can understand why Katherine Tai, the current [U.S.] trade representative, doesn’t want to do this. It’s just another gimmick that the Biden administration is pursuing. And again, a net benefit to China,”  he told Fox Business on May 18.

From The Epoch Times

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