Biden Takes a Swing at Chinese Imports

( – Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden are locked into a rematch of the 2020 presidential race. Both men promise to be tough on China to help American workers. Trump has said he will renew his controversial tariffs and now Biden is promising something similar.

Tackling Chinese Imports

On April 17, Biden traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to speak at the US Steelworkers headquarters. Before he traveled to the battleground state, his administration rolled out several measures related to the industry. Lael Brainard, the president’s National Economic Council director, spoke to reporters on the phone about changes Biden wants to make.

According to Brainard, the president “understands that American steel built” the United States and that “steel mills helped build the American middle class with stable, good-paying jobs.” She said the POTUS’ plan has been built by his administration and officials in the industry and is intended to target China’s “over-capacity and artificially low-priced exports.”

The president called for the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) to look into tripling the current tariff rate on aluminum imports and Chinese steel. That rate is 7.5% right now. The Department of Commerce is also planning to issue policies to stop other countries from flooding the US market with cheap, foreign steel.

In the 12 months ending on February 2023, the US imported about $6.1 billion in steel. Roughly 3% of those imports came from China. However, there’s a concern that the Chinese government is going to increase steel exports to try to help its economy recover from the international health crisis. The administration wants to put policies in place to prevent that from happening at the expense of American workers.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for China, accused the US of “making the same mistake again and again” by trying to increase the tariffs.

Biden’s Speech to Steelworkers

During his remarks to United Steelworkers, The Associated Press reported the president said that his administration was going to try to stop Japan’s Nippon Steel from acquiring US Steel. Biden has previously said he opposes the sale of the vital American company to a foreign corporation. In March, he said it was important for US Steel to continue to be under the control of Americans.

In Pittsburgh, Biden promised the company would stay “American-owned, American-operated by American union steelworkers.” The audience of steelworkers cheered for the president when he made the promise.

Biden argues that in addition to the problems imported steel poses to American workers, there are also national security concerns. He wants to prevent foreign governments from compromising American national security.

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