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Tariffs Take Center Stage as Trump and Biden Court Rust Belt Voters

Trump and Biden Seek to Win Over Rust Belt with Divergent Approaches

In the midst of a heated presidential campaign, Biden and Trump are engaged in a high-stakes game of tariff one-upmanship, each trying to outdo the other in protecting American auto workers from Chinese competition. However, their approaches differ vastly, with far-reaching consequences for the domestic industry and the global economy.

While Biden is set to quadruple tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and expand duties on clean energy products, Trump plans to impose steep tariffs on Mexican autos, potentially disrupting auto supply chains across the continent.

Trump’s plans, revealed by federal lawmakers and former administration officials, aim to halt the shipment of Chinese-made EVs into the US via Mexico. This move would not only escalate trade tensions with Beijing but also with Mexico City, a crucial trading partner.

Trump and Biden Engage in Trade War Rhetoric to Win Rust Belt Support

In contrast, Biden’s more targeted approach is expected to have a muted impact on the US economy, as the country imports relatively few electric vehicles or products subject to tariffs from China.

The diverging proposals highlight fundamental disagreements between the two candidates on how to navigate the global trading system. Trump’s plans for sweeping tariffs on all foreign imports and Chinese goods would significantly roil the system, while Biden’s approach seeks to minimize disruption.

This fault line in the 2024 presidential contest underscores the importance of trade policy in the election and the need for a thoughtful approach to protecting American workers and manufacturers.

As Senator Josh Hawley, a Trump ally, noted, “I think his views are well known, and Bob Lighthizer… is a real leader on this.” The stakes are high, and the outcome will have far-reaching implications for the US economy and global trade.

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