WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said it was too early to make assurances on reducing US tariffs on Chinese imports on Wednesday (Jan 19), but his chief trade negotiator Katherine Tai was working on it.
“I’d like to be able to be in a position where I could say they’re meeting their commitments, or more of their commitments, and be able to lift some of them, but we’re not there yet,” Biden said at a White House press conference.
He was alluding to China’s pledges under Trump’s predecessor Donald Trump’s Phase 1 trade agreement.
China has fallen far short of its two-year goal to acquire $200 billion in more US goods and services in 2020 and 2021 under the Phase 1 trade agreement, and it is unclear how the shortfall would be remedied.
According to data gathered by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Chinese imports only hit roughly 60% of the target through November 2021. Next week, the US Census Bureau is slated to disclose results for December.
Biden said he was aware that some business organizations were pressuring him to begin undoing Trump’s tariffs of up to 25% on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods, which is why Tai was working on the matter.
But, given China’s refusal to increase its imports, he said it was too soon to move forward.
China stated last week that it hopes the US can help establish the atmosphere for further trade cooperation.