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Revival of the U.S.-China Trade War? U.S. Mulls Over Tariffs

Daniel Kim Views  

On the 16th (local time), U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai revealed her serious contemplation of trade defense actions, including the imposition of tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act, in reaction to China’s unfair trade practices. With this announcement, as the U.S. election draws closer this year, it becomes pertinent to monitor whether the U.S. will reignite its tariff war against China, particularly in light of U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s vocal condemnation of China’s issue of overproduction.

In her pre-hearing testimony submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee, Tai stated, “China’s unfair policies and practices have devastated many labor communities and industries across our country.” She cited examples such as steel, aluminum, solar panels, batteries, electric vehicles, and essential minerals.

Tai further elaborated, “We have witnessed China creating dependencies and vulnerabilities in various industries, causing harm to American workers and businesses, and posing a real threat to our supply chains.” This is why “we are seriously looking at how our existing trade tools, including Section 301 tariffs against China, are addressing this issue.”

In 2018, Former President Donald Trump invoked Section 301 of the Trade Act to impose steep tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports. Since then, the Biden administration has extensively evaluated whether to uphold these high tariffs. Tai’s remarks suggest that China’s unfair trade practices remain unchanged, and the Biden administration is resolute in crafting robust trade responses to address this ongoing issue.

Tai indicated, “We are thoroughly evaluating the request from the American labor sector for a new Section 301 investigation into China’s unfair practices within the maritime logistics and shipbuilding sectors.” This implies that further actions against China may be imminent.

Tai’s remarks follow Secretary Yellen’s recent visit to China, during which she cautioned against China’s excessive production in the electric car, solar panel, and clean energy domains. According to Reuters, Chinese trade experts noted that Secretary Yellen’s stance on overproduction might serve as an initial move toward initiating a new Section 301 investigation.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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