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China says Biden’s imposition of punitive tariffs is a political ploy

President Biden’s populist China-bashing move comes as he seeks reelection against an embattled Donald Trump.

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ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

2 Minutes

UPDATED: 16 May 2024, 8:05 am

Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), advanced batteries, solar cells, steel, aluminium and medical equipment are about to get a lot more expensive in the US. President Joe Biden has unveiled a suite of new tariffs, the biggest being a 100 percent levy on EVs – set to come into force this year.

Biden’s justification is that China’s government subsidises Chinese manufacturers to the point where they don’t have to turn a profit, allowing them to potentially undercut US competitors’ prices. 

“American workers can outwork and outcompete anyone as long as the competition is fair,” Biden said on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. “But for too long, it hasn’t been fair. For years, the Chinese government has poured state money into Chinese companies … it’s not competition, it’s cheating.”

[See more: Three of the world’s top five electric vehicle manufacturers are now in China]

The new tariffs appear to be largely symbolic, applying to just US$18 billion worth of US imports (total imports from China came in at US$448 billion last year). Also, there are currently very few Chinese EVs being sold in the US.

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has slammed the move as “a clear example of political manipulation” in the lead up to the US election, with Biden attempting to show voters he can be tougher on China than his Republican rival, Donald Trump.

The ministry also warned that Biden’s tariffs will seriously impact bilateral cooperation between the two countries, Xinhua reported. Other critics have said they could lead to inflation in the US and undermine the global auto industry’s shift toward electrification.

UPDATED: 16 May 2024, 8:05 am

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