“Some of the tariffs imposed by President Trump in retaliation for China’s unfair trade practices, some of them, to me, seem to inflict more harm on consumers and businesses,” Yellen told a news conference in Germany ahead of a G7 summit with finance ministers.
Yellen added that some Trump-era tariffs “are not very strategic in the sense that they address real issues we have with China – whether it’s supply chain vulnerabilities, national security issues or other unfair trade practices.”
The finance minister said she sees an argument for rolling tariffs back on China, not only because of high inflation, but because there may be “benefits for consumers and businesses.”
She did, however, signal that no decision has been made on this issue and hinted at potential disagreement among U.S. officials, saying there is a “lot of opinions.”
Yellen also noted the widespread impact on global food security from Russia’s war in Ukraine, saying: “Higher food and energy prices have stagflationary effects, namely lowering production and spending and increasing inflation worldwide.”
“Higher energy prices, higher food prices and other commodity prices due to Putin’s choice to start a war in Ukraine” are responsible for much of the inflation around the world, she added.
While Americans should not expect any immediate relief at the gas pump, increases in global oil supply should ultimately generate long-term relief, Yellen said.