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China Tariffs Are Important Source of Leverage, Says Biden’s Top Trade Negotiator

  • June 22, 2022

Lawmakers on Wednesday pressed President Biden’s top trade negotiator over the administration’s trade strategy toward China, including what, if anything, Mr. Biden planned to do about tariffs on Chinese goods that were imposed by his predecessor.

The Biden administration has been under pressure to ease some or all of the tariffs as a way to help deal with inflation, which is running at its fastest pace in 40 years. Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, told lawmakers that a decision about tariffs and other actions toward China were “pending” with the president. But she also defended the importance of the levies, calling them “a significant piece of leverage” in relations with China and saying there was a limit to what could be done to address short-term challenges like inflation.

“A trade negotiator never walks away from leverage,” she said.

Mr. Biden has been weighing a decision to lift some of the levies that have been imposed on more than $360 billion of goods manufactured in China, including some consumer products. Proponents of the move say it could help ease inflation, since the levies are often passed on to American consumers who buy Chinese products.

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