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Financial Times op-ed criticizes Biden administration for campaigning to remove Trump’s tariffs on China

The Financial Times published a Sunday op-ed calling for the Biden administration to maintain tariffs on Chinese goods first put in place by the Trump administration. 

The piece, titled “Cutting China tariffs will offer no respite from rising prices,” was written by Oren Cass, a former political advisor to Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.  

“A campaign is under way, led by officials in the Biden administration, to convince Americans that slashing tariffs on Chinese imports might offer relief from rapidly rising prices,” Cass wrote.

Cargo containers are staged near cranes at the Port of Tacoma, in Tacoma, Washington, March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Cargo containers are staged near cranes at the Port of Tacoma, in Tacoma, Washington, March 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

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“That is not remotely the case — indeed, the argument is hard to deliver without a wry grin and a chuckle,” he continued. 

Last week, Axios reported that there is internal strife over the tariffs within the Biden administration, which is “pitting economists at Treasury, including Secretary Janet Yellen, against China hawks on the National Security Council.”  

In his op-ed, Cass argues that even if the tariffs were removed, they would have little to no effect on curtailing inflation. 

“Tariff changes do not necessarily translate into price changes,” he wrote. 

“As analysts like RealityChek’s Alan Tonelson and the Coalition for a Prosperous America’s Michael Stumo have been observing for years, one is hard-pressed to find evidence in the consumer price data from 2018-19 to vindicate the warnings that American consumers would bear the burden of the Trump administration’s tariffs.”

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee's annual spring dinner in Washington, April 2, 2019.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual spring dinner in Washington, April 2, 2019.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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Cass also argues that reversing Trump’s tariffs will not address the root cause of inflation, and that it would instead simply let China off the hook for its transgressions. 

“A tariff of any given size might affect the price level but it does nothing to the rate of change. A tariff imposed in 2018 could perhaps have caused a price increase in 2018, but it cannot bear responsibility for prices rising in 2022.” 

Trump’s allies have lauded the tariffs as a reset of the U.S.-China relationship. 

Xi Jinping marks the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.

Xi Jinping marks the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.
(Xinhua/Shen Hong via Getty Images)

Some in the national security apparatus, including General Robert Spalding, who served as the Senior Director for Strategic Planning at the National Security Council, have expressed concerns that the Chinese Communist Party exercises undue influence on American corporations. 

“At the end of the Cold War, globalization and the internet really allowed a convergence between the social, political, economic, and financial systems of authoritarian and totalitarian governments and free governments. When that happened, the Chinese Communist Party and other authoritarian regimes really had an opportunity to influence U.S. corporate behavior,” he said

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In October 2021, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) published a report warning about China’s “wide variety of legal, quasi-legal, and illegal methods to acquire technology and know-how from the United States and other nations” in key industries.

Joe Silverstein is a production assistant for Fox News Digital. 

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