The Biden administration will allow Trump-era tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese merchandise imports to continue while it reviews the need for the duties.
The tariffs will continue after the administration received a formal request from businesses benefiting from them, the Office of the US Trade Representative said in a statement Friday. It opened the window for comments in May, and got hundreds of requests for them to remain.
US law states that the tariffs automatically expire four years after they were imposed, unless the USTR’s office receives a request for their continuation from a beneficiary and analyzes their effectiveness and consequences. July marked the four-year anniversary of the first wave of the duties.
The continuation of the tariffs corresponds to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, the legislation that President Donald Trump used to impose them starting in July 2018, and doesn’t indicate how President Joe Biden will decide on a separate evaluation of the tariffs, USTR officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In May, USTR General Counsel Greta Peisch said the review “would likely take months.” At the same time, that wouldn’t prevent the Biden administration from taking other steps such as exclusions from duties in tandem with that analysis, she said.
Biden has for months been considering what to do with the Trump-era tariffs and is weighing his options, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said last month.
The duties cover goods including industrial inputs such as microchips and chemicals, and consumer merchandise such as apparel and furniture. While there’s been no direct indication of which duties may be removed, senior administration officials have said reducing tariffs on household items could help ease a surge in the US cost of living.