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
Executive Summary 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 relatio...
By Jacob Stokes
CommentaryThe Biden administration just stalled China’s advance in the Indo-Pacific
Australia, by intensifying the military competition with China, could tee up a chain of as yet unforeseen events....
By Robert D. Kaplan
CommentaryNeoliberals, Anti-imperialists, and the China Question
If there are arguments to be made in favor of cooperation with China, or to justify not sweating China’s accumulation of power, they’re probably best made on grounds other tha...
By Van Jackson
CommentaryMind the Gap: How China's Civilian Shipping Could Enable a Taiwan Invasion
The Chinese military now seems to be regularly practicing the execution of amphibious assaults with civilian shipping integrated into the operations...
By Tom Shugart