A group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative asking her to eliminate tariffs on products that U.S. companies manufacture in China, arguing that these increase the cost of production, which ultimately impacts consumers’ pocketbooks. However, there is no evidence of this.
According to a letter Breitbart claims to have accessed, Representatives Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Jackie Walorski (R-N.Y.), Ron Kind (D-Ill.), and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) urged Ms. Katherine Tai to expand the federal government’s “targeted tariff exclusion process,” to include more companies that manufacture their products in China.
In 2018, during the trade war with China, former President Trump imposed a series of taxes on imports of products made in China to balance the trade relationship with the Asian giant, which always sells more than it buys.
Although initially, the Trump administration placed the tariffs on a partial list of products made in China, as the trade war with Beijing escalated, the section 310 tariffs ended up covering all imports from China.
Trump claims that, with the move, he made the CCP pay $100 billion in tariffs. The decision was seen as one of his achievements as president as the United States had significant economic growth with the former president’s “America First” policies.
However, the group of lawmakers argues that the tariffs increase the cost of products which eventually affects the price for consumers, although data from the Trump-era economy do not indicate that the tariffs have impacted consumers, nor was there an increase in inflation.
“We urge the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to immediately expand its exclusion process in order to support American workers, businesses, and our economic recovery,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.
Trump’s tariffs expired in January when his term ended, and the Biden administration announced it would conduct a review of them that would last through December of this year.
According to a USTR statement, the review will be based on whether these products can only be produced in China, i.e., whether it presents a problem for companies and whether the tariffs achieved the desired effect of balancing the trade relationship with China.
Tai is considered one of the few Biden officials with a nationalist profile. Hence, analysts expect her decision to lean towards maintaining the tariffs, although it is unclear whether the Biden administration wants to follow that path or not.
In the letter, the lawmakers explained, “Regrettably, Section 301 tariffs have broadly affected U.S. businesses in the manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, retail, energy, technology and service sectors.”
However, during Trump’s pre-pandemic administration, there was no indication that the tariffs had increased inflation. Moreover, the U.S.’s economic growth before the pandemic, which included rising middle-class wages, outweighed the impact the tariffs had on the final price of goods.
From 2001 to 2018, before Trump’s tariffs, the U.S. labor market lost 3.7 million jobs that went to China as U.S. companies like Apple, Nike, Tesla, and others took their manufacturing to the Asian giant that offers very low labor costs in comparison.
However, the use of slave labor, or extremely low wages that the CCP subjects people to, not only violates international labor standards but destroys local economies that cannot compete with what China’s labor market offers.