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Hearing on Biden’s China tariff rise sought by US industry groups

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China and USA flag Photo Credit: Denis Ismagilov

Many pro-trade American business organizations have urged the Biden administration for another month to comment on plans to slap harsher tariffs on Chinese imports of electric vehicles, batteries, solar equipment, and other goods, delaying the Aug. 1 start date for many of the levies.
The 173 trade associations under the “American For Free Trade” umbrella wrote to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office on Friday that a 30-day public comment period extension until July 28 was “in the public interest.”

Manufacturers, retailers, technology firms, agribusiness groups, energy corporations, and transport firms requested a public hearing from USTR, as it did for previous levies in 2017 and 2018.
President Joe Biden raised tariffs last month to defend vital U.S. firms from Chinese excess industrial capacity that is flooding global markets with exports. USTR then announced a limited, 30-day public comment time, quadrupling Chinese EV duties to over 100% and tripling semiconductor duties to 50% starting Aug. 1

According to a letter posted to USTR’s comment portal on July 6, the groups are surveying their membership to get feedback on the predicted implications of proposed tariff modifications and documenting them in a way that is most beneficial to USTR. The breadth of the 387 product categories scheduled for higher duties and the submission structure have caused our members to request more time to gather and evaluate such material.

The USTR did not immediately respond to the group’s request.
Another policy group sponsored by the United Steelworkers Union and domestic manufacturers urged for stronger trade barriers against Chinese imports. As China joined the WTO in 2001, the Alliance for American Manufacturing called for the reinstatement of a long-expired legal mechanism to stop Chinese import surges.

The Semiconductor Industry Association, IT Industry Council, American Chemistry Council, Beer Institute, National Retail Federation, Halloween and Costume Association, and American Trucking Association signed the letter.
Auto and truck parts associations signed, but not auto and EV manufacturer trade groups.

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