U.S. businesses are pushing the Biden administration to drop tariffs on Chinese goods. They argue the duties have increased their import costs.
Former President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on over $300 billion worth of Chinese goods after an investigation found that Beijing has been stealing American know-how. China’s intellectual property theft costs the United States up to $600 billion per year.
The combined tariffs slapped on China from 2018 to now total over $160 billion. The duties cover a range of industries, from microchips to chemicals, apparel, and furniture.
There are competing interests when it comes to whether or not to lift the tariffs. Business groups are against the penalties while large labor unions have been rallying for Biden to keep them, saying that lifting them would hurt American workers.
Biden’s aides have also been divided on the issue. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she’s leaning toward rolling back some tariffs. But U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai has defended them, calling the measures “a significant piece of leverage” when negotiating with China. She also noted that “a trade negotiator never walks away from leverage.”