HomePoliticsBiden continues with tariff increases on many Chinese goods

Biden continues with tariff increases on many Chinese goods

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will announce Tuesday that his administration is raising tariffs on $18 billion of Chinese exports, including electric vehicles, as the White House tries to fight what it says are unfair trade practices by its global rival.

The US move escalates what some economists see as a volatile trade war with China as the world’s two largest economies struggle for supremacy.

The White House said the rate for electric vehicles will quadruple, from 25% to 100% this year. China’s largest EV manufacturer BYD is selling the cars for just $10,000.

“China is using the same playbook as before to drive its own growth at the expense of others, continuing to invest despite excess Chinese capacity and flooding global markets with underpriced exports due to unfair practices,” said Lael Brainard , the national economic leader from the White House. advisor, said during a call with reporters. “China is simply too big to play by its own rules.”

China has denied the overcapacity accusation as “baseless” and accused the US of trying to prevent global competition.

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China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Beijing “consistently opposes unilateral tariff increases” that violate World Trade Organization rules.

China “will take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing in Beijing before the tariffs were announced.

China’s Commerce Ministry did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on Tuesday.

The Biden administration has been signaling this move for weeks. Biden last month called for tripling tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum.

The White House on Tuesday specified the following rate increases:

Certain steel and aluminum products will increase from 0-7.5% to 25% this year, and battery components will increase from 7.5% to 25%.

Lithium-ion EV batteries will increase from 7.5% to 25% this year, while lithium-ion non-EV batteries will increase from 7.5% to 25% in 2026.

Certain other critical minerals will increase from zero to 25% this year.

Solar cells will increase from 25% to 50% this year.

Syringes and needles will go from zero to 50% this year.

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Certain personal protective equipment, including certain respirators and masks, will increase from 0 to 7.5% to 25% this year.

Semiconductors will increase from 25% to 50% by 2025.

Natural graphite and permanent magnets will increase from zero to 25% by 2026.

Rubber medical and surgical gloves will increase from 7.5% to 25% by 2026.

While critics argue that higher rates often backfire and increase consumer prices and inflation, the government insisted that was not the case here.

“These actions have no inflationary consequences,” a senior government official said on a call with reporters. “They mainly focus on strategic sectors where we attract domestic investments.”

The official argued that a blanket rate of 10% would pose a greater risk to consumers. Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has floated the idea of ​​a 10% tariff on all imports.

Another senior government official said of the call: “The restrictive efforts of the previous government were not accompanied by positive incentives for companies to invest in strategic sectors. There was no diplomatic attempt to encourage like-minded countries that follow the same rules to join us in confronting Chinese trade practices. And so this is a very different strategy where tariffs are not a standalone strategy.”

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The Trump campaign has criticized Biden’s planned tariff increase.

“After spending much of his presidency fighting to undo President Trump’s trade policies, Biden’s failure to protect American manufacturers continues to haunt his administration and hardworking Americans know it’s too little, too late,” Karoline said Leavitt, spokesman for the Trump campaign. in an emailed statement. “The forgotten men and women know that President Trump is the only one who is and will be tough on China.”

The Biden administration is walking a difficult line: It wants to both lower the cost of clean energy in the U.S. while protecting American manufacturing.

“The Biden administration has two competing goals,” said Alex Durante, an economist at the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based think tank. “Tariffs are generally bad economic policy. I think the government should turn away from them.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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