US Tariffs on China Won’t Relax Much: Expert

By Frank Yue
Frank Yue
Frank Yue
Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.
October 18, 2021 Updated: October 18, 2021

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said Beijing’s noncompliance during phase one of the current U.S.–China trade deals would become a point of future talks. An economics expert said he expects the United States will remain tough on tariffs against China.

On Oct. 14, Tai vowed in Geneva to address the issue of China’s failure to live up to its commitments, in upcoming conversations with China. “There is a need for us to find a new way of engaging and competing with China,” the trade negotiator said, adding that the latest talks are a “good start.”

China is required to buy $200 billion worth of additional U.S. goods and services during the two-year period of 2020 and 2021, according to the phase one trade deal signed during the Trump administration. Data analysis shows that China has met about 58 percent of its purchase commitments through 2020, and 69 percent by August.

Milton Ezrati, chief economist for New York-based communications firm Vested and editor at The National Interest, told The Epoch Times on Oct. 11 that the Biden administration wouldn’t relax much in tariffs on Chinese products.

Ezrati said “there is no sign” that the Biden administration would reduce the tariffs on China. He pointed out that although President Joe Biden reversed almost all policies of former President Donald Trump, the tariffs remain in place.

“The U.S. Trade Representative also said what China had done was insufficient to meet the standards of phase one,” Ezrati said, adding that if China had complied with the agreement, then the tariff reductions would be in phase two.

Ezrati also noted that the U.S. trade chief even threatened in earlier statements to take more necessary measures on the basis of existing tools.

On Oct. 9, U.S. trade chief Tai and China’s Vice Premier Liu He held virtual meetings over phase one of the deal. The Chinese side pressed the United States hard to cancel tariffs and sanctions on Chinese goods.

However, Tai stressed U.S. concerns about China’s state-led, nonmarket policies and practices that have damaged the interests of American workers, farmers, and businesses.

Tai’s predecessor, Robert Lighthizer, argued in an Oct. 5 article in The Economist that “hefty tariffs” are needed, considering the immense U.S. deficits with China.

He said international trade had largely failed America over the past 30 years. “Indeed, it is slowly bleeding the country to death,” the Trump-era trade negotiator warned.

On Oct. 4, Tai delivered a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Despite a targeted tariff exclusion process, she said, the United States would also use the full range of tools it had, and develop new tools as needed to defend American economic interests from harmful policies and practices.

Donna He contributed to this report. 

Frank Yue
Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.