President Biden to dramatically increase tariffs on Chinese imports in bid to protect U.S. industries

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13th May 2024 – (Washington) U.S. President Joe Biden is set to dramatically escalate tariffs on various Chinese goods, including a notable increase from 27.5% to 102.5% on electric vehicles. The announcement, expected later this week at a White House event, underscores a decisive shift in U.S. trade policy towards China, nearly two years after thorough reviews and deliberations.

The Biden administration aims to bolster sectors deemed vulnerable to foreign competition, focusing on imports that could potentially threaten the growth and stability of key U.S. industries. Apart from electric vehicles, other sectors such as batteries, solar cells, steel, and aluminium will see significant tariff hikes. These measures, while aimed at curbing the influx of cheaper foreign goods, particularly from China, are also seen as a strategic move ahead of the 2024 presidential race.

The decision to increase tariffs has been shaped by recent discussions within the administration, focusing on which products to target and which to exempt, ensuring the tariffs do not hinder inputs critical for American growth. The administration has indicated that certain goods, especially those related to the solar industry, might be excluded to support President Biden’s clean energy objectives.

This tariff adjustment represents an effort to differentiate Biden’s policy from that of former President Donald Trump, who had initially imposed tariffs on Chinese goods. While Biden’s strategy renews many of Trump’s tariffs, it also introduces steeper increases in sectors where the U.S. sees a significant threat from Chinese competition.

Legal and trade experts view these targeted measures as a calculated approach to address specific risks without escalating tensions to a full trade war. According to Greta Peisch, a former top trade lawyer for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, these adjustments are “focused on sectors of longstanding concern” and are designed to “maintain the relationship with China” outside these contentious areas.