Saturday, May 18, 2024

Biden rolls out new China tariffs, vows US will ‘never allow’ Beijing to ‘unfairly control’ EV market

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President Biden announced Tuesday that his administration is hiking tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese imports while vowing that the U.S. will “never allow” Beijing to “unfairly control the market” for electric vehicles. 

The new measures include an increase in the tariff rate on electric vehicles from 25% to 100% this year along with hikes on tariffs in “strategic sectors” including steel, aluminum, semiconductors, batteries and solar cells, the White House says. 

“China heavily subsidized all these products, pushing Chinese companies to produce far more than the rest of the world can absorb. And then dumping the excess products onto the market and unfairly low prices, driving other manufacturers around the world out of business,” Biden said Tuesday in a speech at the White House. 

Biden said U.S. trade partners around the world want a “supply chain for electric vehicles that isn’t dominated by unfair trade practices from China” and that “We’re never going to allow China unfairly control the market for these cars, period.” 

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President Biden speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday, May 14, announcing plans to impose major new tariffs on electric vehicles, semiconductors, solar equipment and medical supplies imported from China.  (AP/Susan Walsh)

The president said he ultimately wants “fair competition with China, not conflict.  

“And we’re in a stronger position to win that economic competition in the 21st century against China than anyone else, because we’re investing in America again and American workers,” Biden said. 

The hikes come after former President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on thousands of Chinese goods in 2018 and 2019 in response to an investigation that found China was violating U.S. intellectual property laws and coercing American companies into transferring sensitive technology to Chinese firms as a condition of gaining access to China’s market. 

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China electric vehicle factory

A worker assembles an SUV at a car plant of Li Auto, a major Chinese EV maker, in Changzhou in eastern China’s Jiangsu province on March 27, 2024. (Chinatopix/AP)

In July 2019, then-presidential candidate Biden spoke out against Trump’s tariffs, saying at the time that “All that he’s delivered as a consequence of that is American farmers, manufacturers and consumers losing and paying more.” 

But since Biden has taken office, those tariffs have become “a seemingly permanent feature of U.S. policy toward China,” a report from The Wall Street Journal says. 

Presidents Xi-and Biden

President Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2022. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

China on Tuesday is criticizing the new tariffs, saying they “will seriously affect the atmosphere of bilateral cooperation” and describing them as “bullying,” according to The Associated Press. 

The Trump campaign also said “Joe Biden’s action today is a weak and futile attempt to distract from the grievous harm his insane Electric Vehicle mandate is doing to the U.S. auto industry and how his radical policies are wiping out thousands of American auto jobs.  

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“The fact that these tariffs do not apply to gas-powered cars and trucks but only to Chinese EVs shows that this has nothing to do with protecting American Workers,” Trump Campaign Press Secretary Karoline Leavitt said. “It’s all about Crooked Joe’s agenda of killing gas-powered automobiles while forcing Americans into ultra-expensive Electric Vehicles they don’t want and can’t afford.”

FOX Business’ Eric Revell contributed to this report. 

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