Biden calls for higher tariffs on Chinese steel, aluminum imports

President Joe Biden called for a dramatic increase in US tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports on Wednesday, accusing Beijing of using state funds to subsidize Chinese firms in order to undercut American competition. 

Biden accused the Chinese government of "dumping," an illicit international trade policy whereby a nation exports a product to international markets at uncompetitively low prices.

"The prices are unfairly low because China's steel companies don't need to worry about making a profit because the Chinese government is subsidizing so heavily," he told a group of steelworkers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "They're not competing. They're cheating. They're cheating. And we've seen the damage here in America."

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai is currently carrying out a probe of China's steel and aluminum export practices, and Biden said that if that investigation "confirms these anti-competitive trade practices," he will call on Tai to triple tariffs on Chinese aluminum and steel.

The duties now stand at roughly 7.5% under Trump era policies.

The US is aware that China is already attempting to skirt existing tariffs on the products by running imports through Mexico, which has a free trade agreement with the US, Biden said. He promised steelworkers that he will work with the Mexican government "to solve" the issue.

"I'm not looking for a fight with China. I'm looking for competition, but fair competition," he said.

The US is simultaneously launching an investigation into whether China is seeking to stifle competition in the shipbuilding industry by keeping prices artificially low.

"Taken together, these are strategic and targeted actions that are going to protect American workers and ensure fair competition," said Biden.

The announcements are likely to further inflame already high tensions in the US-Sino relationship amid a wide array of disagreements in trade and geopolitics the world over.

"No trade war," Biden told reporters who are traveling with him in Pennsylvania.

Outside of his address at the United Steelworkers Headquarters, a large group of pro-Palestinian protesters demanded the president support an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, with some chanting, "Genocide Joe, **** you."

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt