WASHINGTON, United States—The US government has received more than 300 requests as of Tuesday to retain the tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by former president Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden is considering how and whether to remove some of the tariffs imposed by his predecessor, as he faces growing pressure to offer some relief to soaring US inflation, but is expected to talk first to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Trump imposed tariffs on about $350 billion in annual imports from China in retaliation for Beijing’s theft of American intellectual property and forced transfer of technology, but some were set to expire starting Wednesday unless extended by Washington.
As part of a scheduled four-year review, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s office has solicited input from stakeholders, and a single request would trigger a review and continuation of the tariffs.
By Tuesday evening, USTR had received more than 300 for the $10 billion in tariffs set to end Wednesday, and nearly 80 for the next round due to expire August 23.
The agency’s website does not identify the firms posting comments, but a source confirmed more than 300 called for the tariffs to be continued.
Biden could end the tariffs at any time, but his administration is divided.
Tai has said she is reluctant to give up the leverage they provide, while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has argued that some of the duties “serve no strategic purpose” and reconfiguring them could ease inflation, which has reached a 40-year high and is squeezing American families.
Yellen on Monday held a discussion with her Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, and raised the issue of Beijing’s “unfair” trade practices, according to the Treasury.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that no decision has yet been made on the tariffs.
“The President’s team is continuing to look at our options on how to move forward,” she said during a press briefing. “We want to make sure that we have the right approach.”