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Tariffs to be sharply increased by the Biden administration on Chinese-made products • Michigan Advance

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is doubling and in some cases tripling tariffs on Chinese products such as steel and electric vehicles in an effort to ease economic pain in battleground states, though senior administration officials say this is not political.

National Economic Adviser Lael Brainard told reporters Monday ahead of the announcement that the steep increase in several tariffs would help tackle the Chinese government “flooding global markets with underpriced exports due to unfair practices.”

“We know that China’s unfair practices have harmed communities in Michigan and Pennsylvania and across the country, which now have the opportunity to bounce back because of President Biden’s investment agenda,” Brainard said, noting two crucial swing states mentioned ahead of the November elections.

President Joe Biden’s decision to raise several tariffs, Brainard said, ensures “that American companies and workers have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field in industries critical to our future, such as clean energy and semiconductors. ”

Here are the rates that will increase and when the White House will implement these changes:

  • Steel and aluminum will go from a rate of 7.5% to a rate of 25% this year.
  • Semiconductor tariffs will increase from 25% to 50% before 2025.
  • Rates for electric vehicles will increase from 25% to 100% this year.
  • Batteries: The tariff on lithium-ion EV batteries and battery parts will increase from 7.5% to 25% in 2024. The tariff on lithium-ion non-EV batteries will rise to the same level in 2026.
  • Solar cells will increase this year from a rate of 25% to a rate of 50%.
  • Ship-to-shore cranes will receive a 25% tariff this year. They are not currently subject to tariffs.
  • Medical products: Rates for personal protective equipment, including face masks, will increase this year and rates for rubber medical and surgical gloves will increase in 2026. Both will be set at 25%. The rates for syringes and needles will go from no rate to 50% in 2024.

Senators called for rate increases

A group of seven Democratic U.S. senators wrote to Biden earlier this month, urging him and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to “maintain or increase tariffs to counter China’s continued actions to defraud and undermine our national security.” to take.

Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Bob Casey and John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York all signed the letter.

The senators wrote that tariffs are “an important tool to level the playing field and combat anticompetitive practices of non-market economies and trade cheats, and they should remain in place.”

“China has continued to deceive, circumvent, and manipulate to artificially strengthen its economy and harm the United States,” the senators wrote. “In sectors such as steel, solar energy products and electric vehicles, China uses tactics to distort markets and create artificially low prices by illegally subsidizing its industries and producing at overcapacity.”

Electric vehicle rates

A senior government official, speaking to reporters on background Monday to discuss the details of the changes, said the higher tariffs on electric vehicles are necessary to prevent China from getting an unfair share of the global market.

“If we have a level playing field, we and other countries will have the opportunity to compete and that is the kind of dynamic that we think will deliver resilient supply chains, clean technology and give us the best chance of meeting our climate goals” , the spokesperson said. said a senior government official.

A second senior administration official declined to “speculate” on whether China would impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, saying officials from that country were likely to speak publicly in the coming days.

A third senior government official who took part in the call said the decision to increase certain rates and the timing of the announcement “has nothing to do with politics.”

That official also said there are differences between China’s production of electric and gas-powered vehicles, which is why the Biden administration is raising tariffs on one but not the other.

“We have thoroughly studied and assessed how the Chinese have invested in their domestic electric vehicle industry and the range of unfair best practices that give them a significant unfair competitive advantage in pricing,” the third official said. “So I think that’s why we’re moving toward a significant increase in electric vehicle rates.”