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Biden announces that he will triple tariffs on Chinese steel to win workers' votes – News

Biden announces that he will triple tariffs on Chinese steel to win workers' votes – News

“I would consider tripling tariffs on steel and aluminum from China,” Biden said during a rally at the steelworkers union headquarters in Pittsburgh, known as the “Steel City.”

The tariff currently applied to some steel and aluminum products is 7.5%, so tripling it would mean an increase to 22.5%.

However, this increase will not take effect immediately, as it must first undergo a review process at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

As the White House explained in a statement, the US government will also launch an investigation into Chinese trade practices in the shipbuilding, maritime and logistics sectors, which could lead to the imposition of new tariffs.

Biden's announcement reflects the way in which his trade policy is influenced by his attempts to win the support of the working class, a sector that has been attracted in recent years to the protectionist policies advocated by former Republican President Donald Trump (2017-2021). His competitor in next November's elections.

During his term, Trump imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, to which Beijing responded with more tariffs, sparking a trade war that hurt global growth and led to disruptions in supply chains.

Before his speech in Pittsburgh, a reporter asked Biden if he was concerned about a new conflict with China, and he simply replied: “There will be no trade war.”

The announced measure quickly gained support from unions and trade associations, such as the American Iron and Steel Institute, which in a statement accused Beijing of flooding the North American market with cheap steel to harm local producers.

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Despite the support, the measure is largely symbolic.

The United States imported about $6.1 billion (€5.7 billion) worth of steel products in the 12 months through February 2023, but only 3% of those imports came from China, according to the US Census Bureau.

Biden's announcement comes during a three-day tour of the key state of Pennsylvania, which took him on Tuesday to his hometown of Scranton, where he delivered a speech addressing the working class, and concluded Thursday with another massive campaign in Philadelphia.