Another view: Trump’s tariffs have become Biden’s tariffs


As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden said the Trump administration’s trade war with China and the tariffs are a drag on the US economy and harming American consumers, manufacturers and farmers. But eight months after his presidency, Biden hasn’t lifted a single tariff from Donald Trump – not even those imposed on our allies in the European steel and aluminum industry.

Containers are piled high in the Port of Los Angeles on September 28th. Officials are gathering this weekend for the first ministerial-level meeting of the new US-EU trade and technology council, hoping to reach an agreement on steel and aluminum and other tariffs by the end of the year. Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images / TNS

What gives? The Biden administration says it will not touch tariffs until it completes a “comprehensive review of US-China trade policies.” Because of me. But what is clear is that the president is in no hurry to lift the Trump-era tariffs on China and the European Union that could upset steel workers and unions in battlefield states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Our beef is in part that this cuts against Texas. In 2018 the latest data The US Trade Representative’s office show revealed that Texas was the largest state exporter of goods at $ 315.9 billion. That’s a 64 percent increase over the past decade and enough to balance nearly 18 percent of the state’s economy and secure more than 900,000 jobs. Steel tariffs may be good policy in the east, but here they are bad economics. And even if we have to confront China on a myriad of issues, the continuation of many of Trump’s tariffs undermines our relationships with key allies.

In May, the US and EU agreed to further escalate steel and aluminum tariffs, but around 300 US manufacturers signed that same month a letter urged the Biden government to go much further and “immediately end the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on this country’s trade and national security allies.”

American manufacturers, the letter continued, “are currently facing a historic shortage of readily available and globally affordable steel and aluminum products at a time when the country is relying on our sector to stimulate the economy and meet unprecedented challenges that are caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “

The consequences were layoffs, plant closings and a sharp rise in prices for cars and agricultural machinery right through to household appliances such as stovetops, refrigerators and washing machines.

In addition, tariffs, which should protect the US steel industry from foreign competition, should lead to more investments by US steel manufacturers and more jobs. But these jobs have not materialized, even with demand rising since the beginning of the year and steel prices close to record high.

In other words, the Biden administration, like the Trump administration before it, is ready to impose tariffs, create scarcity and increase costs on hundreds of steel-consuming manufacturers across the country who have more than 6 million jobs. around America’s approximately 140,000 steel and iron workers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the supply chain crisis has also contributed to inflation and higher prices for almost all consumer goods.

And it’s not just manufacturing that suffers. As We write In August 2019, China levied taxes on “electronics, automobiles and auto parts, planes and parts, machinery, crude oil, aluminum and steel products, and almost anything grown or grown on a US farm or ranch,” thanks to Trump’s trade war.

No wonder then that everyone from the International Monetary Fund to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is calling on Biden to remove Trump’s one-sided obstacles to free trade and to return to a multilateral approach that will bring the World Trade Organization back on its feet and, at the same time, our allies in Europe and Asia to pressure China to adhere to international trade rules and norms.

Like a group of seven Republican Senators in a letter According to Biden in June, an important first step in holding China accountable is to “remove barriers to trade with our allies” while “listening to companies across the country that have suffered the negative economic impact.” Like these seven senators, we urge the Biden government to “end the self-inflicted damage of the trade war.”

As a positive move, officials are meeting this weekend for the first ministerial-level meeting of the new US-EU trade and technology council and hope to reach an agreement on steel, aluminum and other tariffs by the end of the year. Working with our allies in Europe and Asia is the best way to thwart China’s unfair trade policies.

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