Removing Trump-Era Tariffs Increases Reliance on China: Republican Lawmakers

President Joe Biden has mulled removing tariffs on Chinese goods to curb goods prices amid soaring inflation, which Republican lawmakers have pointed out would worsen U.S. dependence on China.“There’s a lesson that we should have learned during the time of COVID, that we cannot be dependent on the communist Chinese government on our supply chain,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told NTD, an affiliate of Epoch TV. “So [Biden]’s trying to solve a real problem that he’s created by creating an even bigger problem for the United States in the long term, running back to China to be able to resolve this problem now,” Lankford said. “That makes us even more dependent on China in the long term,” he added. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) speaks at a hearing to examine the 2020 Census and current activities of the Census Bureau at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 23, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also weighed in, citing the 2018 Section 301 Report into China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation, which he said “has determined that China was not playing by the rules, [and is] involved in subsidizing with dumping and other unfair trade practices.” As a result, he said, Trump’s “Phase 1” trade agreement with Beijing has not been fully implemented. Portman further warned that lifting such tariffs would amount to “sending a message to China and to other countries around the world that when countries were found to be unfairly trading, there’s not going to be a consequence.” “When they make a commitment to do something… and don’t complete it, we should not reward that,” Portman said. He also said that such actions have a very minimal impact on inflation. Solutions Given the potential consequences that the move would bring about, Lankford proposed tackling the issue at home rather than reaching out to China. “We need to have a policy that does work toward making things in America that deals with the regulations … that deals with the production issues that [Biden] doesn’t want to deal with,” he said. “He should make it easier to produce in America, not easier to be able to actually go get it from China.” Meanwhile, Portman brought up another remedy that rules out a wholesale elimination of tariffs and addresses them on a case-by-case basis through an exclusion process put in place by the Trump administration to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. “If the product being imported from China is not otherwise made here in the United States, that might be a good candidate for reduction or even elimination of that tariff, because it’s not helping American workers,” he said. Lankford suggested maintaining tariffs on those that are directly competing with American ones or are being unfairly traded. “That’s not a level playing field for American workers,” he said. The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comments. Follow Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin. Follow Steve Lance is the host of Capitol Report, a political news show based in Washington aimed at providing a direct channel to the voices and people who shape policy in America. Capitol Report features all of the political news of the day with expert interviews and analysis.

Removing Trump-Era Tariffs Increases Reliance on China: Republican Lawmakers

President Joe Biden has mulled removing tariffs on Chinese goods to curb goods prices amid soaring inflation, which Republican lawmakers have pointed out would worsen U.S. dependence on China.

“There’s a lesson that we should have learned during the time of COVID, that we cannot be dependent on the communist Chinese government on our supply chain,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told NTD, an affiliate of Epoch TV.

“So [Biden]’s trying to solve a real problem that he’s created by creating an even bigger problem for the United States in the long term, running back to China to be able to resolve this problem now,” Lankford said.

“That makes us even more dependent on China in the long term,” he added.

Sen. Rob Portman speaks
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) speaks at a hearing to examine the 2020 Census and current activities of the Census Bureau at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 23, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also weighed in, citing the 2018 Section 301 Report into China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation, which he said “has determined that China was not playing by the rules, [and is] involved in subsidizing with dumping and other unfair trade practices.”

As a result, he said, Trump’s “Phase 1” trade agreement with Beijing has not been fully implemented.

Portman further warned that lifting such tariffs would amount to “sending a message to China and to other countries around the world that when countries were found to be unfairly trading, there’s not going to be a consequence.”

“When they make a commitment to do something… and don’t complete it, we should not reward that,” Portman said.

He also said that such actions have a very minimal impact on inflation.

Solutions

Given the potential consequences that the move would bring about, Lankford proposed tackling the issue at home rather than reaching out to China.

“We need to have a policy that does work toward making things in America that deals with the regulations … that deals with the production issues that [Biden] doesn’t want to deal with,” he said.

“He should make it easier to produce in America, not easier to be able to actually go get it from China.”

Meanwhile, Portman brought up another remedy that rules out a wholesale elimination of tariffs and addresses them on a case-by-case basis through an exclusion process put in place by the Trump administration to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“If the product being imported from China is not otherwise made here in the United States, that might be a good candidate for reduction or even elimination of that tariff, because it’s not helping American workers,” he said.

Lankford suggested maintaining tariffs on those that are directly competing with American ones or are being unfairly traded.

“That’s not a level playing field for American workers,” he said.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comments.

Hannah Ng

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Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin.


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Steve Lance is the host of Capitol Report, a political news show based in Washington aimed at providing a direct channel to the voices and people who shape policy in America. Capitol Report features all of the political news of the day with expert interviews and analysis.