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Monday, July 4, 2022

Tariffs give US ‘lever’ in talks with China, says top trade official

US tariffs on Chinese goods represent a key piece of leverage on Beijing that Washington should not give up, a senior US trade official said Wednesday.

Progress on China’s unfair trade practices has been elusive, making tariffs an important tool, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told lawmakers.

“Tariffs on China, in my view, are a significant amount of leverage, and a trade negotiator never gives up leverage,” she said in her testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“The United States has repeatedly sought and received commitment from China, but has found that sustainable change remains elusive,” she added.

President Joe Biden has said he is considering lifting some of the tariffs imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump, and plans to negotiate with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday that no decision has yet been made on the tariffs.

“The president has discussed this with his team,” she told reporters, adding that there was no timeline for the announcement.

But any decision will likely need to be made soon as some fares expire on July 6 unless they are renewed.

Successive rounds of tariffs imposed by Trump ended up covering about $350 billion in annual imports from China in response to Beijing’s theft of American intellectual property and forced transfer of technology.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is among those who argue that removing tariffs could reduce inflation, which has hit a 40-year high and is putting pressure on American families.

“The tariffs that we have inherited, some of them serve no strategic purpose and increase costs for consumers,” Yellen said Sunday.

The administration is considering “changing some of these tariffs to make more sense and reduce some of the unnecessary burden,” Yellen said.

But Tai said there is a limit to what can be done to address rising prices in the short term.

Meanwhile, US builders issued a statement calling on the administration to lift tariffs on Canadian lumber to ease pressure on homebuyers.

“If the administration is truly interested in helping US citizens get rid of high inflation by eliminating costly tariffs, it must ensure that Canadian lumber is included in the tariffs it intends to eliminate,” said Jerry Konter, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. statement.

Washington cut lumber rates to 11.64% in January, but the NAHB reckons the tariffs have added more than $18,600 to the price of a new home since last August, according to the NAHB.

Tai told lawmakers that she regularly discusses the issue with her colleagues in Ottawa to try to resolve the issue.

But she added: “This requires the Government of Canada to be prepared to address the fundamental issues we face with the uneven playing field for our industry in regards to how they manage harvesting in their industry.”

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Desk
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