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Biden defends 'strategic and targeted' China tariffs, seeking contrast with Trump

President Biden on Tuesday defended his announcement of increased tariffs on Chinese imports, seeking to contrast his policies with those of former President Trump.

“My administration is combining investments in America with tariffs that are strategic and targeted. It’s a smart approach,” Biden said at the Rose Garden under cloudy skies. “Compare that to what the prior administration did. 

“My predecessor promised to increase American exports and boost manufacturing. But he did neither. He failed. He signed a trade deal with China … instead China imports from America barely budged,” Biden continued. “And now Trump and his MAGA Republicans want across-the-board tariffs on all imports on all countries if reelected.”

Biden was joined by union workers, business owners and lawmakers, including representatives from Michigan, as he rolled out the tariffs.

The White House announced tariffs on Chinese goods would be phased in over the next three years, with sectors targeted in 2024 including electric vehicles (EVs), solar cells and steel and aluminum.

Administration officials said tariffs will increase from 25 percent to 100 percent on Chinese EV imports to offset Chinese export practices, which they told reporters “favor Chinese automakers at the expense of U.S. and other foreign automakers and autoworkers and are leading to a massive surge of unfairly underpriced Chinese vehicles into foreign markets.”

The administration will also double tariffs on Chinese solar cell imports to 50 percent, officials said, a move meant to counteract Chinese dominance of global solar production, which currently comprises about 70 percent of the market.

Biden and his aides have framed the move as an effort to protect American workers against unfair Chinese trade practices.

“Bottom line, I want fair competition with China, not conflict,” he said Tuesday. “And we’re in a stronger position to win that economic competition in the 21st century against China than anyone else because we’re investing in America again.”

Officials in Beijing have vowed to respond to the new U.S. tariffs, though they have not laid out specifics. The move could increase tension in what has already been a frosty relationship between the U.S. and China in recent years.

The move also drew criticism from some in Biden’s own party. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) called the tariffs “horrible news for American consumers and a major setback for clean energy” in a post on the social platform X.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, frequently used tariffs during his first term in office, often prompting other nations to impose similar taxes on U.S. goods.

He has floated a 10 percent tariff on all imports into the U.S. if he returns to the White House, a proposal experts have warned could worsen inflation.

The Trump campaign on Tuesday ripped Biden’s tariff increases, calling it “too little too late.”

“The forgotten men and women know President Trump is the only one who has been and will be tough on China,” spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.

Source: The Hill

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