US Business Associations Plead With Biden to Lift Trump-Era China Tariffs Amid Logistics Disruptions
As if the global pandemic was not hurting business in the US enough, now there is another plague – a disruption in transport systems. Two major US ports, New York City and Los Angeles, are suffering from container ship congestion, while railroad and truck companies are overwhelmed amid major workforce shortages.
US President Joe Biden has faced pressure from the American business association, which has asked him to lift tariffs from some $350 billion of imported Chinese goods. The tariffs were implemented under Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, as a part of a trade war the latter started with China in 2018.
The future of the tariffs remains in limbo as the Biden administration continues to review Trump's Chinese policies. The American Association of Apparel and Footwear, however, as well as four other US business associations, have called for immediate action to help American companies already struggling due to supply chain problems and major congestion in US transport systems.
"Tariff relief is a fast and easy way to help companies hurt most by the shipping crisis stay in business and keep people employed", the American Association of Apparel and Footwear's CEO argued in a statement to the administration.
The associations sent letters to US Trade Representative last week, noting that supply chain disruptions and long queues at major US ports will continue for the foreseeable future, and acknowledging that altering the tariffs will not speed deliveries. Lifting duties on Chinese goods, however, would free up an estimated $106 billion for US companies already facing spiking shipping prices shipping.
The groups added that duties "are hurting the competitiveness of US manufacturers and stalling the US economic recovery".
The US-based trade groups offered an alternative solution to lifting tariffs by resurrecting waivers, a practice that existed under Trump. The companies could exempt certain Chinese wares from the tariffs, if no US-made substitutes existed or alternatives were available for purchase in other countries.
2 October 2021, 14:57 GMT
The Biden administration has not reacted to the request and has not made any statements regarding the future of anti-China trade sanctions. The Trump administration implemented the duties as an unsuccessful means of forcing Beijing to negotiate and sign a new trade deal with Washington, which would address practices the White House deemed "unfair", such as forced technology transfers. The sides struck a Phase One deal that addressed part of the issues raised by the US, but not all. The future of those trade talks remains in limbo since Trump lost the 2020 presidential election.