Washington, D.C./ Politics & Govt
AI Assisted Icon
Published on April 17, 2024
Biden-Harris Administration Takes Aim at China's Trade Practices with Sharp Increase in Steel Tariffs, Launches InvestigationsSource: PLBechly, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a striking move to bolster the U.S. steel and shipbuilding industries, the Biden-Harris administration announced a series of aggressive measures aimed at curbing what they describe as China's unfair trade practices. According to The White House statement, President Biden has proposed a substantial increase in tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports, a reflection of the administration's commitment to protecting American jobs and countering economic threats.

As reported, the administration is considering a significant boost to the existing tariff rates, potentially tripling them. While President Biden's strategy includes fortifying existing tariff defenses, his Department of Commerce has also stayed busy, imposing more than 30 anti-dumping and countervailing duties on steel-related products since taking office. It was after falling even before the pandemic, that the Department of Commerce slammed shut the floodgates against the tide of cheap, unfairly priced imports, conducting nearly 27 investigations into the practices of Chinese exporters and other countries looking to skirt trade regulations.

Another critical aspect of the administration's offensive includes collaboration with Mexico to address transshipment issues. President Biden recently dispatched senior officials to work closely with our southern neighbor, ensuring that Chinese steel does not sneak into the U.S. market camouflaged as Mexican imports, thereby skirting existing tariffs. This effort underscores the administration's broader endeavor to maintain a level playing field for American industries.

The United States Trade Representative is stepping into the fray as well, initiating an investigation into China's practices within the shipbuilding, maritime, and logistics sectors. Triggered by a petition from five labor unions, led by United Steelworkers, the investigation will serve to shine a light on the depths to which Chinese market distortions have sunk, stretching far more aggressive and interventionist than any other nation's attempts. Affected American workers and shipbuilders, behind this competition, continue to languish under the weight of such market-distorting behaviors.

Not resting solely on punitive measures, the administration is also fostering innovation and sustainability within the industry. Announcing up to $1.5 billion for six clean iron and steel projects through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden is set on ushering in a new era of low-emission steelmaking. These investments are poised to breathe new life into steel communities nationwide and ensure U.S. competitiveness in the global market for eco-friendly steel products.

As China's robust steel and shipbuilding exports pose a substantial challenge, the Biden-Harris administration's decisive actions signify a resolute stance in support of American industry and workers. The proposed measures are not just a stopgap but part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at revitalizing a sector that remains a cornerstone of the U.S. economy.