US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says ‘we’re looking at’ tariff cuts on some Chinese imports

  • Rising inflation is a key concern for President Joe Biden’s administration, especially with midterm elections coming up in November
  • US officials are ‘re-examining carefully our trade strategy with respect to China’, says Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday that lifting tariffs on certain Chinese goods could help alleviate the high inflation that has taken hold across the United States this year.

Her remarks were the latest signal from President Joe Biden’s administration that Washington may eventually remove at least some of the tariffs left over from the trade war that began during the Donald Trump era, although it remains unclear when or even if that will ultimately happen. They came one day after a top economic adviser at the White House, Daleep Singh, made similar comments about potentially lifting tariffs to fight inflation.

“We’re re-examining carefully our trade strategy with respect to China,” Yellen said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “It’s worth considering. We certainly want to do what we can to address inflation, and there would be some desirable effects. It’s something we’re looking at.”

As US-China relations continue to worsen, Biden has kept many of the hardline policies targeting Beijing that were established during Trump’s term in office – including billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs – even as the Democratic president has moved to reverse seemingly every other policy set up by his Republican predecessor, from climate change to negotiations with Iran.

Both political parties see China under the rule of Xi Jinping as a threat to US power and global stability. Any moves that Biden might make to ease up on Beijing could leave him open to criticism from Republicans that he is soft on China.

At the same time, the politics of tariffs and trade remain complicated in Washington.

A bipartisan mix of lawmakers has made clear that they want to see at least some of the tariffs lifted, and various business groups have tried to put pressure on the Biden administration to remove them too.

Author: Jacob Fromer, SCMP

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