Biden increases tariffs on goods from China to protect American economy - TAI News
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President of the United States Joe Biden is speaking about proposing tariffs on Chinese steel in his remarks at the United Steelworkers Headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, on April 17, 2024.(Photo by Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via AP)

On May 14, President Joe Biden announced that the United States has raised tariffs on imported goods in some product sectors as part of a strategy to curtail what he described as unfair trade practices by China.

Tariffs on imported goods from China will increase for steel and aluminum, semiconductors, electric vehicles, battery components, solar cells, ship-to-shore container cranes, and medical products.

“China heavily subsidized all these products, pushing Chinese companies to produce far more than the rest of the world can absorb and then dumping the excess products onto the market at unfairly low prices, driving other manufacturers around the world out of business,” Biden said at a White House event. (7:51)

Biden described China’s actions as cheating and noted closures of steel mills in Pennsylvania and Ohio following the rise in Chinese imports.

The tariffs are being increased under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, which gives the federal government the power to raise tariffs if it determines that a foreign government is taking unreasonable or unjustifiable actions that burden American commerce.

“This is a strategic approach to trade policy that will help protect key U.S. industries, like the clean energy and semiconductor sectors,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “We know the PRC’s playbook – we’ve seen their non-market actions on solar and steel – and cannot allow China to undermine U.S. supply chains by flooding the market with artificially cheap products that hurt American businesses and workers.”

The administration’s actions were praised by the United Steelworkers union.

“The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and flawed Chinese trade policies have had an outsized negative impact on our members. Now, the Biden administration’s work to strengthen relief measures shows we’re not backing down. Instead, we’re backing up our domestic producers and workers,” USW International president David McCall said in a release.

Along with the tariffs, the Biden administration has prioritized federal investment in domestic production capacity, particularly in the areas of clean energy and semiconductors. As president, Biden has the CHIPS and Science Act, which includes subsidies for semiconductor growth, as well as the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains over $115 billion targeted for clean energy.

According to data released by the White House, since Biden took office at least $28 billion in private investment in manufacturing in Michigan has been announced. This includes $24 billion for electric vehicles and batteries, $1 billion for clean energy manufacturing and infrastructure, and $756 million for semiconductors and electronics.

Under former President Donald Trump, tariffs were increased on a much wider selection of goods from multiple countries, including countries of the European Union, Canada, and Mexico, along with China. Trump’s actions sparked a trade war with China that led to price increases for many consumer goods and limited the ability of many American farms to sell their products on the international market.

According to a 2021 study by the U.S.-China Business Council, the trade war caused a peak loss of 245,000 American jobs. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a total of 188,000 manufacturing jobs lost over the course of Trump’s four-year presidency, including many lost as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened. Since Biden took office in January 2021, more than 770,000 manufacturing jobs have been added, and employment is now above pre-pandemic levels, at a 15-year high.

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