U.S. tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports are due to expire in July but could be extended if enough industries request it, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
As Americans face the highest inflation in more than four decades and businesses struggle to find key supplies, President Joe Biden has faced growing calls to get rid of punitive tariffs imposed during the trade war launched by his predecessor Donald Trump.
The tariffs were first imposed in 2018, eventually covering around $350 billion in annual imports from China in retaliation for Beijing’s theft of US intellectual property and forced transfer of technology.
The measures will expire on July 6 unless there is a request to maintain them, in which case they would be subject to review.
U.S. trade officials said Tuesday they were formally reaching out to the public to seek comment on whether to extend tariffs, including sending letters to 600 companies that expressed support for the measures.
“Under the law, the tariffs would expire on the four-year anniversary unless we go through this process and receive a request for further action,” a senior official in the U.S. Representative’s office told reporters. to Trade (USTR).
The official declined to say whether high prices would be a consideration, but said any review will focus on “the effects of such actions on the United States economy, including consumers.”
Foreign companies have long complained about Beijing’s failure to protect know-how and patents, and in some cases compel companies to share information with domestic partners as a price for doing business in the huge market. Chinese.
Before Trump, US administrations had sought to resolve issues through dialogue and light pressure, but Trump pulled out all the stops, triggering a retaliation from Beijing over US products.
And despite a “phase one” trade pact that took effect in February 2020, USTR Katherine Tai said the sweeping measures have not “prompted” Beijing to change its practices.
The USTR will consider input from “all stakeholders on how they view tariffs, whether they want to be increased, decreased (or) changed,” another official said.