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US Gets Set For Trade War As Biden Hikes Tariffs On Chinese Computer Chips, Cars

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President Joe Biden has unveiled a bundle of steep tariff increases on an array of Chinese imports. The areas targeted include electric vehicles, computer chips, and medical products.

The new measures impact $18 billion in Chinese imported goods. These include steel and aluminum, semiconductors, batteries, critical minerals, solar cells, and cranes.

Biden will keep the tariffs put in place by his Republican predecessor Donald Trump, the White House said in a statement. He will however ratchet up others.

Washington has cited unfair Chinese practices as the reason for the tariffs. This has affected its “economic security” as China floods the global markets with cheap goods.

Trade figures show that the US imported $427 billion in goods from China in 2023. It exported $148 billion to the world’s second-largest economy. This trade gap has persisted for decades and become a sensitive subject in Washington.

White House National Economic Adviser Lael Brainard said China was seeking to power its “own growth at the expense of others.”

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Though Biden’s steps fell in line with Trump’s premise that tougher trade measures with China, the president attacked his rival.

The White House said that Trump’s trade deal with China in 2020 did not increase American exports or boost American manufacturing jobs.

It said the 10% across-the-board tariffs on goods from all points of origin that Trump has proposed would frustrate US allies and raise prices. Trump has floated tariffs of 60% or higher on all Chinese goods.

Administration officials said their measures are “carefully targeted” combined with domestic investment, plotted with close allies, and unlikely to worsen a bout of inflation that has already angered US voters. They downplayed the risk of retaliation from Beijing.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has however voiced fears that China may retaliate