China Tariff

Upto 100%: US Hikes Tariffs on EVs, Semiconductors from China Amidst Upcoming Elections

Amidst a contentious campaign between Biden and his Republican predecessor, Trump, to demonstrate toughness on China, the tariffs are implemented.
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Introduction

The tensions between the United States and China have once again come to the forefront as the US government unveiled a comprehensive set of tariffs on Chinese goods on Tuesday, May 14. The US significantly raised tariffs on a variety of goods, with electric vehicles (EVs) seeing the biggest jump, from 25% to a whopping 100%. Other targeted sectors include steel, aluminum, semiconductors, and more. The US government claims these tariffs are necessary to protect American jobs and counter China’s aggressive trade practices, including subsidies for their industries.

This move, a culmination of a two-year review of China trade, represents a significant escalation in the trade dispute between the two economic powerhouses.

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“American workers can outwork and outcompete anyone as long as the competition is fair,” Biden said “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.”

Amidst a contentious campaign between Biden and his Republican predecessor, Trump, to demonstrate toughness on China, the tariffs are implemented. Biden’s acknowledgment of lawmakers from Michigan and his discussion of workers in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all battleground states in the upcoming election, reflect the presidential campaign’s influence on his remarks.

China was quick to push back against the tariffs, saying they “will seriously affect the atmosphere of bilateral cooperation.” The foreign ministry used the word “bullying.”

Tariff Measures

An increase in tariffs refers to the raising of import duties or taxes imposed on goods and services imported from another country. This action typically results in higher prices for those imported goods, as the additional tariff cost is often passed on to consumers.

Over the next three years, the tariffs will gradually roll out, beginning with those slated for 2024, which will cover EVs, solar cells, syringes, needles, steel, aluminum, and other items. Despite the current scarcity of Chinese EVs in the U.S., worries emerge regarding the possible surge of low-priced models into the American market, aided by Chinese government subsidies.

“It’s a naked act of bullying,”

~Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin

Key among the announced measures is the doubling of tariffs on semiconductor imports to 50 percent.

US tariff

By 2024, tariffs on electric vehicles (EVs) are set to quadruple, skyrocketing from 25 percent to an astounding 100 percent. Although the semiconductor tariff hike is postponed until 2025, the broader ramifications of these tariffs on crucial sectors such as batteries, steel, and critical minerals cannot be overstated.

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Rationale and Response

The decision to impose tariffs comes amidst allegations of “unfair trade practices” by Beijing, a sentiment echoed by the White House.

Furthermore, Ambassador Katherine Tai, in a statement, emphasized the need to address China’s “unfair technology transfer-related policies and practices” that purportedly disadvantage American workers and businesses.

Chinese officials swiftly condemned the move, with PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian asserting that the former US administration’s imposition of Section 301 tariffs disrupted normal trade and economic exchanges, violating WTO rules.

The Europeans also express concerns, as the EU initiated an investigation last autumn into Chinese subsidies and may consider levying an import tax on Chinese EVs.

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Implications

The broader implications of these tariffs extend beyond mere economic considerations. Moreover, the US-China trade relationship, long characterized by tensions and negotiations, now faces renewed uncertainty as both sides dig in their heels.

With geopolitical ramifications at play, including implications for global supply chains and technological competition, the repercussions of this latest development are likely to reverberate far beyond the realm of trade policy.

Critics of the tariffs argue that such measures risk escalating tensions between the world’s two largest economies, potentially leading to further disruptions in global trade and economic growth.

Potential Impacts:

Higher Prices for Consumers: The increased tariffs will likely lead to higher prices for consumers as businesses pass on the additional costs.

Strained US-China Relations: This move will further strain the already tense relationship between the two economic superpowers.

Disruption in Supply Chains: The tit-for-tat tariff war between the US and China has already disrupted global supply chains, and this latest move could exacerbate the problem.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, the US government’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese goods represents a significant escalation in the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries.

As both sides trade accusations of unfair practices, the broader implications of these tariffs extend beyond economic considerations, with geopolitical tensions and global supply chain disruptions hanging in the balance. Moving forward, the path to resolution remains uncertain, underscoring the need for continued dialogue and negotiation between the US and China to address their differences and mitigate the potential fallout from escalating trade tensions.

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