US to hike tariffs on Chinese goods – Bloomberg

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US President Joe Biden is set to double, triple and quadruple tariffs on some Chinese goods, Bloomberg has reported. It’s the latest step in the escalating trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies.

Tariffs in key sectors will be hiked or added following a two-year review process, the outlet said, citing people familiar with the matter. The steepest increase will affect Chinese-made electric vehicles, with the total levy rising to 102.5% from 27.5%. Other targeted items such as batteries, solar cells, steel and aluminum, will see duties doubled or tripled, it added.

In March, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said China was producing too many batteries, solar panels, and electric cars, flooding the market with cheap goods, which she said was harming American workers.

A US trade group, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said in February that China’s auto industry posed an “existential threat” to US carmakers, citing “astonishingly low” prices from leading Chinese automaker BYD. 

The expected hikes are part of a tit-for-tat trade row between Washington and Beijing that started in 2018, when then-President Donald Trump began setting tariffs and other trade barriers on China to address what he described as unfair trade practices. Since then, the White House has taken further action against Chinese firms and restricted investment in the country.

During the current election campaign, Trump has proposed across-the-board tariffs and said he would hike the tariff on Chinese cars made in Mexico to as high as 200%. Biden, who will seek re-election in November, is looking to contrast his approach with that of the presumptive Republican nominee, targeting only select industries, Bloomberg noted.

The White House has also targeted China’s semiconductor industry, introducing a growing number of export controls aimed at depriving Chinese firms from access to advanced semiconductors and associated manufacturing equipment.

Chinese officials have repeatedly denounced US trade and tech policy, describing it as “economic bullying.” The Chinese government has taken several countermeasures to retaliate against US sanctions. Among them are restrictions on exports of strategic raw materials used in defense technologies, electronics and clean energy.

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