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US ‘Actively Considering’ China Tariff Cuts: Treasury

Move would come as Biden administration seeks to rein in surging US consumer prices.

A senior US Treasury Department official has said the US is "actively considering what to do" about Trump-era tariffs in Chinese imports.
US. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo. Photo: Reuters.

Speaking in an interview on live TV, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo stated the US is “actively considering” cutting some Trump-era tariffs on Chinese goods as the Biden administration works to rein in rising prices, but added the US will balance short-term inflation goals against the longer-term need to tackle trade and competition issues with China.

“We’re actively considering what we do with regard to those tariffs,” Adeyemo told CNN in a live interview. “I think the important thing for every American to know is that the president is committed to doing everything we can to bring down costs in a sustainable way.”

There is ongoing debate within the Biden administration about reducing or removing some of the Trump-era Section 301 tariffs that hit hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports as it seeks to ease rising consumer prices. The Trump administration imposed the punitive tariffs of up to 25% in 2018 and 2019.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Adeyomo’s boss, has proposed cutting some “non-strategic” tariffs on consumer goods, but US Trade Representative Katherine Tai has clarified tariffs are part of an overall strategy to gain leverage in talks with China on its trade commitments and economic policies the US says give Chinese companies an unfair advantage.

President Joe Biden has said he may cut some tariffs on Chinese imports.


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Biden, Yellen and other administration officials are due to meet with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to discuss inflation, which recently hit 40-year highs and poses serious challenges for the Democrats’ as they head into mid-term congressional elections in November 2022.

Adeyemo said the Biden administration would do all it can to bring down inflation, including more energy production and reducing federal deficits. “And we’re going to give the Fed the room it needs to make sure that it brings down inflation over time.”

He said the tariffs on Chinese goods were designed to create a level playing field for US firms competing with Chinese imports, “and we’re considering how we use tariffs as a tool to do just that.”

The tariff decisions will be influenced by whether the duties put US firms and workers “in a better position to be able to sell American goods around the world going forward.”


  • Reuters, with editing by Neal McGrath


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Neal McGrath

Neal McGrath is a New York-based financial journalist. Neal started his career covering the Asia-Pacific region for the Economist Intelligence Unit, then joined Asian Business magazine. He's subsequently held a variety of editorial positions covering business, economics, finance and sustainability. Neal has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and the US.


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