Washington, D.C.— The Biden administration must reject misguided calls to lift “Section 301” tariffs on imports from China and instead pursue efforts that will grow domestic manufacturing and bring supply chains home, Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said on Thursday.
In official comments delivered to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Paul wrote that China’s government has failed to address the predatory and discriminatory economic practices that originally led to the enactment of the tariffs starting in 2018. It also has failed to meet its commitments in the “Phase 1” trade agreement signed by the U.S. and China in 2020.
Many of China’s destructive practices only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, there are calls to lift the tariffs to address inflation, even though there’s little-to-no evidence that doing so will result in lower prices for consumers.
“Make no mistake, lifting retaliatory measures before they induce reforms in order to address inflation is ill conceived and inherently flawed given China’s continued reliance on market distorting policies, acts, and practices. It is of the utmost importance to the American manufacturing sector that the Biden Administration continue pressing for reforms that address China’s unreasonable and discriminatory acts, policies, and practices.”
The best remedy for supply chain related inflation is “to surge U.S. manufacturing and industrial capacity,” Paul wrote. That includes enacting policies to accelerate the reshoring of critical manufacturing and supply chains, and supporting a fact-based tariff exclusion process “without congressional mandates or any other political interference that predetermines an outcome.”
“While an accessible and transparent exclusion process is essential for trade enforcement actions, unwarranted tariff relief may very well signal the demise of a U.S. company that is seeking to establish a market foothold or one that has reinvented itself to fill gaps in our domestic supply chains.”
Above all, the United States must not revert to its previous posture with Beijing, which consisted of “endless dialogue, polite requests for reforms, broken promises from Beijing, and China’s unabated deployment of unfair practices that undermined U.S. manufacturers, harmed American workers by destroying their jobs, and threatened our national security and public welfare,” Paul wrote.
“China has not yet reformed its practices and we cannot afford to capitulate to its recalcitrance,” Paul added. “This is a long-term process that will require a sustained, bipartisan commitment on the part of all U.S. policymakers, including both the current and future administrations.”