US considers easing some tariffs on China to fight inflation

China has argued that tariff reductions would cut costs for American consumers

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo testifies before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies last month. AFP
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US 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 current high levels of inflation.

Mr 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.

"We are looking at it. In fact, the president has asked us on his team to analyse that. And so we are in the process of doing that for him and he will have to make that decision," Ms 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 aluminium to protect US workers and the steel industry.

China has also been arguing that tariff reductions would cut costs for American consumers.

Ms Raimondo also told CNN 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 US semiconductor manufacturing to give the United States more of a competitive punch against China.

Ms Raimondo said she disagreed with the characterisation that Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan had contributed to the current high inflation.

- With Reuters

Why is everything so expensive right now?

FILE PHOTO: Elena Rodriguez carries a list of produce and money to make purchases for the soup kitchen where she works in Pamplona Alta in Lima, Peru, April 11, 2022.  REUTERS / Daniel Becerril / File Photo
Updated: June 05, 2022, 8:43 PM