Biden to hike tariffs on Chinese imports, embraces Trump-era policy

Electric vehicles, semiconductors, and steel are among the targeted sectors as the administration aims to diversify critical goods production.

Biden to hike tariffs on Chinese imports, embraces Trump-era policy
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
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President Joe Biden is set to announce a significant increase in tariffs on various Chinese imports, including electric vehicles, battery components, semiconductors, microchips, and steel and aluminum. The new tariffs, which will be implemented over the next two years, are expected to affect approximately $18 billion in Chinese imports.

According to USA Today, the tariff rates will hit electric vehicles, solar components, and semiconductors from China the hardest, with an increase from 25% to 50%, while tariffs on other sectors will rise to 25%. During his speech at the White House on Tuesday, Biden also officially endorsed maintaining tariffs implemented by former President Donald Trump on more than $300 billion of Chinese goods, as reported by The New York Times.

The move marks a significant shift in Biden's stance on tariffs, as he spent months during his presidential campaign criticizing Trump's tariffs on China. In 2019, Biden blasted Trump multiple times, calling his policies "senseless" and arguing that Americans would ultimately "foot the bill."

"Mexico isn't paying for the wall. American military families are. China isn't paying for the tariffs. American farmers and manufacturers are," Biden tweeted in September 2019. "The American people continue to foot the bill for President Trump's senseless political games."

A senior Biden administration official defended the president's new tariffs on China, stating that the world needs "diversified, not concentrated, production of our most critical goods and technologies." The official emphasized the importance of not relying solely on China for clean technology production, according to CNN.

The Biden administration's increase in tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles comes as the federal government continues to invest heavily in EVs and green energy. Lael Brainard, director of the White House National Economic Council, said that Biden's move aims to aid "communities in Michigan and Pennsylvania," two 2024 battleground states that could play a crucial role in deciding the winner of the presidential election.

Earlier this year, Trump proposed increasing tariffs on China across the board to more than 60%. The former president also denied that he had started a "trade war" with China during his term, stating, "It's not a trade war. I did great with China with everything. I want China to do great, I do. And I like President Xi a lot. He was a very good friend of mine during my term."

The Biden administration's decision to increase tariffs on Chinese imports has ignited derision on social media, with many pointing out the president's hypocrisy in embracing the Trump-era policy. 

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