President Joe Biden’s pick for Commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, on Thursday acknowledged that the tariffs on China imposed by former President Donald Trump have been “effective,” in comments that signal the current administration won’t soon roll back the highly contentious duties.
“The data show that those tariffs have been effective,” Raimondo, who was confirmed to her Cabinet role on Tuesday, told MSNBC. “What President Biden has said is there will be a whole-of-government review of all of these policies and decide what it makes sense to maintain.”
Trump imposed tariffs on billions of Chinese products in an effort to confront the Chinese Communist Party’s unfair trade practices, including its massive government subsidies to Chinese companies.
His administration also placed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods, including imported steel and aluminium, in response to the regime’s expansive state-sanctioned campaign to steal U.S. intellectual property (IP).
It also entered into trade negotiations with the regime in an attempt to force Beijing to overhaul such practices, as well as currency manipulation.
China retaliated with tariffs on more than $110 billion in U.S. products.
Raimondo suggested that the Biden administration plans to take a hard line on Beijing, and would be “tough on China in a whole of government response.”
“First, we have to be honest which is to say China’s behavior is anti-competitive, coercive—their human rights are horrific. And they need to be held account for that,” she said, noting that she intends to hold Beijing accountable by using the Department of Commerce’s “Entity List.”
She described the list as a “powerful tool” that can be used to push back against the behavior of Chinese telecommunications companies.
Raimondo previously refused to commit to keeping Huawei Technologies on the list, which would stop it from acquiring American technology. That prompted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to place a temporary hold on her confirmation.
Since then, she has said that the Biden administration sees no reason to remove Huawei from the list.
“I understand that parties are placed on the Entity List and the Military End User List generally because they pose a risk to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests,” Raimondo said last month, Bloomberg reported. “I currently have no reason to believe that entities on those lists should not be there. If confirmed, I look forward to a briefing on these entities and others of concern.”
“Chinese telecommunication companies, their behavior is a threat to American economic and national security. We are going to use the entities list to its full effect,” she elaborated on Thursday.
Raimondo added: “There’s no one tool in our toolbox, but we have to recognize the magnitude that China’s behavior—the threat that it poses.”
Biden hasn’t yet signaled whether he plans to abolish the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration. His team has remained elusive on details despite projecting a tough-on-China image.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.
Eva Fu contributed to this report.