The White House is close to announcing investigations into Chinese use of industrial subsidies, the prelude to imposition of tariffs. The probes are known as “301s”, the section of US trade law that allows them.
If you import stuff from China that gets classified as requiring Section 301 import duties, you’ll have to pay that extra margin, which means US importers must either bear the costs on to consumers. They can appeal to the Court of International Trade for a refund, which then burdens the taxpayer and incurs administrative costs.
Rather than dodging strategy in favor of endless crisis management, the White House ought to be asking a series of questions. What problem are we responding to? What are we trying to achieve? How will 301s and tariffs further that?
Former president Donald Trump used tariffs extensively as the main tool of his “trade war” with China and it achieved nothing other than the imposition of reciprocal tariffs from China. President Biden shares some of this economic nationalist sensibility, calling tariffs “the greatest negotiating tool in the history of our country.”
Maybe that’s true. But no tool does everything, and a tool’s value has to be judged against its purpose in context. So what’s the purpose behind wielding tariffs against China?
Read the full article from Asia Times.
More from CNAS
PodcastChina’s Role Within the War, with Jude Blanchette and Dave Shullman
What role will China choose to play within the Russia-Ukrainian war? Beijing has notably refused to condemn Moscow for its military aggression, instead putting the blame on th...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, David Shullman & Jude Blanchette
PodcastThe CCP Century: Jacob Stokes On The Upcoming 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress
Jacob Stokes joins the pod to discuss the upcoming 20th CCP Congress, which has not garnered a lot of attention outside of China, but will serve as a crucial inflection point ...
By Jacob Stokes
CommentaryWashington’s Missing China Strategy
The Biden administration has repeatedly identified China as the United States’ foremost foreign policy challenge. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has referred to China as th...
By Richard Fontaine
ReportsTangled Threats: Integrating U.S. Strategies toward China and North Korea
China and North Korea pose intertwined challenges for U.S. and allied policy. The Korean Peninsula constitutes just one area among many in U.S.-China relations. Meanwhile, iss...
By Jacob Stokes