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Biden Urges Trade Representative to Explore Tripling Tariffs on Chinese Steel

President Biden (Credits: CNN)

The White House reveal a series of measures on Wednesday aimed at safeguarding the U.S. steel industry from the influx of Chinese exports, coinciding with President Biden’s visit to the United Steelworkers headquarters in Pittsburgh.

National Economic Council director Lael Brainard emphasized Biden’s recognition of the pivotal role played by American steel in the nation’s history and economy.

Brainard described Biden’s approach as “strategic, balanced, and targeted,” developed in collaboration with unions, industry stakeholders, and international allies affected by China’s export practices.

President Joe Biden (Credits: PBS)

Biden has directed the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to consider tripling the tariff rate on Chinese steel and aluminum imports under Section 301, potentially raising it from the current 7.5 percent. The decision will follow a review by the USTR’s office.

Addressing concerns about inflation, a senior administration official highlighted the outstanding reduction in prices from their peak and argued that steel tariffs would safeguard American jobs.

The USTR will launch an investigation into China’s trade practices in sectors such as shipbuilding, maritime, and logistics, prompted by a complaint filed by the United Steelworkers and four other unions. The inquiry aims to address China’s allegedly non-market policies in its steel practices.

U.S. President Joe Biden (Credits: Britannica)

The Department of Commerce will also take action against countries flooding the market with inexpensive steel, building on ongoing investigations into anti-competitive actions by Chinese exporters.

The announcement comes despite concerns over China’s surging steel exports, which have reached an eight-year high and increased by approximately 32 percent in the first two months of 2024, as reported by the Financial Times.

Biden’s visit to Pittsburgh underscores his support for union workers and his administration’s efforts to bolster manufacturing jobs, which have seen a rebound post-pandemic.

During his visit, Biden is expected to reaffirm his backing for U.S. Steel despite a proposed sale to Japan’s Nippon Steel. Last month, Biden emphasized the importance of keeping the company domestically owned, characterizing it as “vital.”

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