Donald Trump’s continued imposition of tariffs on China frustrates American business

US companies anticipating a new approach to international trade policy after four combative years under Donald Trump have a question for the Biden administration: What will happen to his tariffs on China?

The unbalanced trade balance with China, the largest source of imports to the United States, has become a staple of Donald Trump’s trade policy. He has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods including clothes, shoes and food, disappointing business groups that advocated lower taxes and lighter regulations.

Under Joe Biden, most tariffs have remained, however, some American business groups are concerned.

“It’s been five months since this new administration and we don’t have a clear idea of ​​Chinese trade policy yet,” said John Gould, vice president of the National Retail Federation. “This is having a huge impact on businesses, many of which are struggling to survive through Covid and bear the added burden of tariffs.”

While Biden has worked with allies to counter China, his overall policy toward Beijing is closer to Trump’s approach than experts have predicted. Meanwhile, the cost of US tariffs on companies buying from China has risen. A mechanism that allowed companies to apply for exceptions to so-called Article 301 duties on Chinese imports expired late last year and have yet to be returned.

More than 3,500 US companies, including Coca-Cola, Disney and Ford, as well as smaller US manufacturers, have filed lawsuits against the Trump administration over its tariffs on China, representing a record number of suits in the US International Trade Court, based in the US. in New York. Hearings are scheduled this year.

“Tariffs are not very popular with US consumers and businesses who are bearing the cost,” said Doug Barry, a spokesman for the US-China Business Council, a trade body. “Many tariffs remain in place with no indication of when or if they will be lifted.”

The Biden administration has so far dismissed questions about the tariffs, saying it is conducting a “top-down review.” Chinese trade policy. The White House has indicated that addressing forced labor, promoting workers’ rights, and protecting the environment are among its top business priorities.

Politically, rushing to remove tariffs could be risky ahead of the 2022 congressional elections, as any sign of softness toward China could weaken Democrats at the polls.

The pressure on Chinese trade policy falls on Catherine Tay, the US trade representative. The Biden administration’s chief trade negotiator immediately began making diplomatic calls with her foreign counterparts when she joined the White House in March, but she hasn’t. Talk to China Until last week.

US lawmakers have repeatedly questioned Tai about Chinese tariffs, citing damage to their domestic industries. Senators tried to revive the exclusion process and allow some Chinese imports to avoid punitive surcharges.

Some tariffs on Chinese imports were removed when Trump hitlevel 1“The trade agreement, in which Beijing committed to buying an additional $200 billion in goods and services from the United States over the two years ending in 2021. The Biden administration has so far said little about how it sees China’s adherence to the agreement nor suggested if that might be possible. To start talks for “Phase 2”.

“The Office of the United States Trade Representative has never issued a public judgment on China’s performance in any detail,” said Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “This is supposed to be regularly evaluated…we should have heard whether China is still worthy of love.”

Tai said in her comments that her goal is to promote a “factor-centered trade policy”. The administration recently took action against a Chinese fishing fleet that it alleged was using forced labor on its ships, and banned the import of tuna and swordfish from the company.

“Within the administration, they seem to be more forward in their discussions of human and labor rights than they are on the economic and business agenda,” said a former government official with ties to the American business community.

“There is a growing feeling that these experienced people aren’t sure what to do about China — despite all their frustrations with Trump, they didn’t get to office with a plan other than spending a lot of money locally to increase competitiveness and are now just trying to buy time an endless number of internal reviews and studies.

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