Biden weighs lifting China tariffs to combat record-high inflation

The administration of US President Joe Biden is considering lifting some tariffs on Chinese products in an effort to combat record-high inflation in the country.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Sunday that President Biden has asked his advisors to look into the possibility of removing or reducing some of the hefty tariffs that his predecessor, Donald Trump, had put in place as part of his so-called trade war with China.

“We are looking at it. In fact, the president has asked us on his team to analyze that. And so we are in the process of doing that for him and he will have to make that decision,” Raimondo told CNN in an interview on Sunday when asked about whether the Biden administration was considering lifting tariffs on China to tackle inflation.

The Trump administration, in several phases and starting in 2018, imposed tariffs on more than $300 billion of imports from China, arguing the move would force Beijing to trade more fairly with the United States.

The tariffs elicited little but anger from China. However, they helped drive up US inflation by affecting household goods that American consumers could have purchased more cheaply from China.

Inflation in the US hit a 40-year high in March and currently is hovering around 8 percent. In recent weeks, President Biden has signaled a willingness to tweak tariffs on Chinese imports in order to ease inflation.

Economists estimate the move would not have a significant immediate effect on inflation but has the potential to bring about a full percentage point decrease in about a year.

China has argued that tariff reductions would cut costs for American consumers.

Raimondo said on Sunday that the Biden administration has decided to keep some of the tariffs on steel and aluminum in place to protect American workers and industries, but is considering lowering tariffs on other products, including household goods.

President Biden has described combating inflation his “top domestic priority” and the White House has been searching frantically for remedies.

The administration has taken several steps toward that goal, including by agreeing to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to generate relief at the pump.

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