White House adviser Singh is proposing that the United States reduce tariffs on Chinese goods
White House adviser Singh is proposing that the United States reduce tariffs on Chinese goods

White House adviser Singh is proposing that the United States reduce tariffs on Chinese goods

WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) – A White House adviser on Thursday suggested that the United States could lower tariffs on a number of non-strategic Chinese goods such as bicycles or clothing to help fight inflation.

Vicenational Security Adviser Daleep Singh said tariffs imposed by the former Trump administration may have given the administration some bargaining leverage, but those tariffs served no strategic purpose and China had similar non-strategic retaliatory tariffs in place.

“So that’s the possibility,” he told an event hosted by the Bretton Woods committee. “It may be that in this moment of rising inflation and China having its own very serious concerns in the supply chain … maybe there is something we can do there.”

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Inflation is a critical concern for President Joe Biden, whose approval ratings fall as the cost of energy, food and other basic commodities rises and his Democrats are at serious risk of losing their majority in Congress in the midterm congressional election in November.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has restarted an exclusion process that could lower tariffs on some Chinese goods, but has not taken any major steps to remove the tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods wholesale.

The U.S. could use tariffs to advance strategic priorities, such as strengthening critical supply chains and maintaining U.S. advances in basic technologies and to support national security, Singh said.

“For product categories that are not implied by these targets, there is not much argument that these tariffs are in place,” he said. “Why do we have tariffs on bicycles or clothing or underwear?”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in December that lowering Trump-era tariffs on imports from China through a revived exclusion process could help ease some inflationary pressures, though she stressed it would not be a “game-changer.” Read more

Singh’s comments come as Washington calls on Beijing to refrain from undermining extensive sanctions imposed on Russia over its war in Ukraine.

Singh said the Biden administration believed Chinese banks and corporations were largely cautious and steered away from helping Russia circumvent Western sanctions, stressing China’s interest in continuing to trade with the West.

Singh said it was clear that Chinese President Xi Jinping wanted to achieve supremacy through economic and technological dominance, but there were areas where the two countries could work together, including to combat climate change.

He said Xi would likely continue to rely on state-owned enterprises and national advocates, and they would continue to receive very heavy state subsidies.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Edited by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters trust principles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.