Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Biden: I won’t immediately lift China tariffs

Published:Thursday | December 3, 2020 | 12:13 AM

PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden says he will not immediately lift tariffs placed by President Donald Trump on many imports from China or break Trump’s initial trade deal.

Biden says he wants to maximise his leverage in future talks with the United States’ geopolitical rival.

Speaking to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Biden said, “I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs.” Biden adds in Friedman’s column published Wednesday: “I’m not going to prejudice my options.”

Under Trump, the US and China engaged in a year-long trade war that has been largely frozen since a phase-one deal was reached in January. While some industries have benefited from Trump’s protectionist policies, they have been largely panned by the business community and most experts – and most of the cost of tariffs has been borne by American businesses and consumers.

Biden tells Friedman that an early priority after his January swearing-in will be to restore relationships with allies to strengthen his negotiating position with China. Biden says the key to talks with China is “leverage” and in his view “we don’t have it yet”.