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U.S. Plans to Impose Tariffs of Up to 100% on EV Imports From China



New BYD electric vehicles for export at the port of Yantai, Shandong Province, China

New BYD electric vehicles for export at the port of Yantai, Shandong Province, China on Jan. 10, 2024. Costfoto / NurPhoto via Getty Images

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The Biden administration plans to set new tariffs on electric vehicle (EV) imports from China of up to 100 percent, along with import taxes on other products.

The tariffs follow a review of former President Donald Trump’s more than $300 billion in import taxes imposed on China in 2018, reported The New York Times. It is anticipated that most of Trump’s levies will continue, with increases in sectors subsidized by Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

In addition to EVs, solar equipment, semiconductors and medical supplies could be subjected to new levies, The Associated Press reported. EVs could see a jump from 25 to 100 percent.

The tariffs could be announced as soon as tomorrow, Reuters said.

Democrats like Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown have encouraged Biden to protect the automobile industry in the United States with more heavy-handed action like completely stopping the import of EVs from China, reported The New York Times. Brown said the “existential threat” posed to carmakers in the U.S. meant import taxes were not enough.

Last month, Biden said he was requesting that tariffs be raised on imports of Chinese products made from aluminum and steel after his aides said China was selling the metals at prices that were falsely low to deplete the market share.

“My U.S. trade representative is investigating trade practices by the Chinese government regarding steel and aluminum,” Biden said in an address to Pittsburgh steelworkers, as The New York Times reported. “If that investigation confirms these anticompetitive trade practices, then I’m calling on [Katherine Tai] to consider tripling the tariff rates for both steel imports and aluminum imports from China.”

Biden said he’s after “fair competition.”

The president wants to show he’s ready to safeguard manufacturing in the U.S. before going up against Trump in the presidential election in November.

China has been inundating the global marketplace with inexpensive products like solar panels, EVs and batteries. The flood of cheap Chinese solar panels and parts has caused prices to be cut roughly in half in the past year.

“We are hopeful the tariff review is done with an eye toward aligning tariffs with strategic priorities including the continued build out of domestic solar manufacturing,” said Michael Carr, Solar Energy Manufacturers for America’s executive director, as reported by The New York Times.

Beijing criticized the prospective new levies, saying they violated rules of the World Trade Organization.

Greta Peisch, a former U.S. trade representative’s office general counsel, noted that, without higher import taxes, the automobile sector in the U.S. would not be competitive against highly-subsidized EVs from China.

“When you look at the impact of China’s longstanding policies on E.V.s, they are producing much more and have a lot more capacity than they can absorb. You really want to go high enough to make sure that you’re counteracting the trend that we’re seeing,” Peisch said, as The New York Times reported.

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