Biden Administration Imposes Tariffs on Chinese Goods to Address National Security Concerns

President Joe Biden has announced new tariffs on Chinese goods whilst maintaining those enacted by the Trump administration. However, the tariffs will have minimal impact on Chinese trade and the US economy, with coverage of only 4% of imports from China last year and 0.07% of total US gross domestic product. Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, confirmed that the tariffs would not cause inflation. The focus of the new tariffs is the range of goods Biden has chosen to tariff.

For example, the Biden administration will place a 25% tariff on medical latex gloves from China. In recent years, Chinese imports have held a more than 90 percent market share of these and related medical products. This excess reliance became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic when China effectively blackmailed the United States. The graphics in these gloves are also important and require specific software and expertise to manufacture them. Placing tariffs on these goods is intended to encourage the growth of US and foreign manufacturers as a means of creating a more diverse and less-risky supply chain.

The administration has also levied tariffs on other products, such as solar panels, cranes installed in ports, and electric vehicles (EVs). Although these tariffs aim to promote fair trade practices and prevent violations of trade agreements, they also pose national security risks. For example, the FBI found intelligence-gathering electronics on Chinese-made cranes last year.

EVs also present similar security risks. Research indicates that Chinese-made internal combustion engine cars and EVs collect vast amounts of data and transmit this outside of the car. This data includes information on the car and external systems, such as the onboard internet connection, brakes, location, voice activity, and even the environment. Competing with these products will require policies that effectively change the foundation of the 21st century.

At present, the tariffs are a step in the right direction, but they are not the solution. More needs to be done to change the economic environment and address the challenge presented by China. For instance, it is important to prioritise clean tech standards for manufacturers in allied countries and block the import of products manufactured by Communist Party-controlled firms. Furthermore, the emphasis should be on creating policies that change the economic and trade environment for the long term.

In conclusion, while the new tariffs on Chinese goods by the Biden administration are a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to address the issues surrounding Chinese trade. The focus of these tariffs on specific goods indicates that more needs to be done to promote production to a more diverse and less-risky supply chain. Furthermore, policies that change the fundamental foundation of the economy and trade are necessary to properly address the issue

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