Donald Trump’s persistence in China tariffs undermines US business

After four years of war under Donald Trump, American entrepreneurs expecting a new approach to international business policy are asking the Biden administration a question. What will be its tariffs on China?

The one-sided trade balance with China, the largest source of US imports, became the basis of Donald Trump’s trade policy. He has set tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, including clothing, footwear and food, to the detriment of business groups that would otherwise endorse his lower taxes and weaker regulations.

Most of the tariffs remain under Joe Biden, but some American business groups are worried.

“We have been in this new administration for five months, we do not have a clear idea of ​​what China’s trade policy is,” said Jon On Gold, vice president of the National Retail Federation. “This has a huge impact on companies, many of which are struggling to survive through Covid, with an additional burden of tariffs.”

While Biden worked with allies to counter China, his overall policy toward Beijing is closer to Trump’s approach than experts expected. At the same time, US tariffs on companies bought from China have risen. The mechanism that allowed businesses to apply to exclude the so-called Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports expired at the end of last year and has not yet been restored.

More than 3,500 U.S. companies, including Coca-Cola, Disney and Ford, as well as smaller U.S. manufacturers, have filed lawsuits against the Trump administration over tariffs on China, citing a record number of lawsuits filed in U.S. International Trade. in court, New York. Hearings are scheduled for this year.

“Tariffs are not very popular with American consumers and entrepreneurs,” said Doug Barry, spokesman for the US-China Business Council. “Many tariffs are in force without specifying when they will be removed.

Biden administration has so far diverted tariffs, saying it is conducting a “top-down” review. China’s trade policyThe White House has stated that resolving forced labor, promoting workers’ rights, and protecting the environment are among its top priorities.

Politically, rushing to remove tariffs can be risky in 2022. Ahead of the congressional by-elections, when any sign of leniency in China could weaken the Democrats at the ballot box.

Pressure on China’s trade policy comes from US Trade Representative Catherine Tai. The Biden administration’s chief trade negotiator immediately began making diplomatic calls to his foreign counterparts when he joined the White House in March, but he did not do so. talk to China until last week.

U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly questioned Thai over Chinese tariffs, saying they have harmed their local industries. The senators sought to revive the exclusion process by allowing some Chinese imports to avoid punitive surcharges.

Some Chinese import tariffs were lifted when Trump acted “Stage 1:The trade deal, under which Beijing pledged $ 200 billion more to buy goods and services from the United States in the two years to 2021. The Biden administration has so far said little about how it views China’s adherence to the agreement, has not offered plans to start talks on a “second phase”.

“The USTR has never publicly condemned any details about China’s activities,” said Scott Kennedy, a Chinese expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It is assumed that this is regularly assessed. “We should have heard if China still deserves love.”

In a statement, Thai said his goal was to develop a “labor-centric trade policy.” The administration recently took action against the Chinese fishing fleet, which it claims was using forced labor on its ships to block the import of poisonous fish from the company.

“In the administration, they seem to be much more advanced in their discussions of human rights and labor rights than they are on the economic trade agenda,” said the former US official, who had ties to the US business community.

“There is a growing feeling that these experienced people are not sure what to do about China. That despite all their frustrations with Trump, they have not achieved their position with any plan other than spending large sums of money to increase internal competition and rivalry. “Now they are just trying to buy time with endless time checks and studies,” said the man.

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