Biden Steel Tariffs Vs. Vilsack’s China Retaliation Claim

President Biden has proposed tripling steel and aluminum tariffs on China. But his Ag Secretary argues provoking China may be at the root of a rising farm trade deficit.

Top Senate Finance Republican Mike Crapo (R-ID) brought up the steel tariff issue with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, urging she quickly finish a required tariff review and act. Crapo said, “It’s my understanding that President Biden has recommended that there be a tripling of our tariffs on steel and aluminum for China. And the question I have is, when are we going to get an answer? when will this investigation end and a decision be made?” Tai “We are in very, very advanced stages of our interagency work, and I expect that we will come to a conclusion very soon.”

But Biden’s tripling of the steel tariffs started by former President Trump could again spark retaliation by China against U.S. Ag producers.

Yet Secretary Tom Vilsack had this possible explanation for the growing U.S. ag trade deficit in an exchange with top GOP Senate Ag appropriator John Hoeven at a recent hearing. Vilsack said, “Our trade deficit for the first three months of fiscal ’24 was six billion dollars—about six billion dollars more than we sold. China purchased six billion dollars less.” Hoeven “I knew that’s where you were going, yeah…coincidence no, right?” Vilsack “Well, look, if you continually rap your number one customer, it’s not surprising that your number one customer would send you a signal about, ‘Hey, we’re paying attention.’”

But President Biden has left U.S. tariffs imposed by Trump in place on hundreds of billions in Chinese goods, while Beijing’s kept its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. farm goods like soybeans. And it’s failed to live up to its Phase I commitments to the U.S. to buy more farm goods.

Story courtesy of NAFB News Service and Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau Washington