U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Sunday that President Joe Biden has asked his team to look at the option of lifting some tariffs on China that were put into place by former President Donald Trump to combat the current high inflation.
“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 weighing lifting tariffs on China to ease inflation.
“There are other products – household goods, bicycles, etc. – and it may make sense” to weigh lifting tariffs on those, she said, adding the administration had decided to keep some of the tariffs on steel and aluminum to protect U.S. workers and the steel industry.
Biden has said he is considering removing some of the tariffs imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods by his predecessor in 2018 and 2019 amid a bitter trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
Beijing has constantly urged Washington to drop additional tariffs on Chinese goods, saying it would be “in the interests of U.S. firms and consumers.”
“[The removal] will benefit the U.S., China and the whole world,” said Shu Jueting, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), in early May, adding trade teams from both sides were maintaining communications.
Raimondo said she felt the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage could likely continue until 2024.
“There is one solution [to the semiconductor chip shortage],” she added. “Congress needs to act and pass the Chips Bill. I don’t know why they are delaying.”
The legislation aims to ramp up U.S. semiconductor manufacturing to give the United States more of a competitive punch against China.
Raimondo said she disagreed with the characterization that Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan had contributed to the current high inflation. Congress passed the COVID-19 relief package a year ago before it was signed into law, marking a signature achievement of Biden’s first year in office.
The U.S. consumer prices, which tracks what consumers pay for goods and services, peaked at 8.5 percent in March compared with a year ago, hitting the fastest inflation rate since 1981.
Despite the consumer price inflation in the U.S. slowed slightly last month, jumping by 8.3 percent compared to April 2021, the annual inflation remains at its highest rate in 40 years.