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Biden admin may relax China tariffs in bid to ease inflation, commerce secretary says

President Joe Biden’s administration is considering a drawdown of tariffs on Chinese goods in an effort to combat record-high inflation in the U.S.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo confirmed the potential move on Sunday, saying Biden has personally asked her team to look into the issue. Inflation in the U.S. hit a 40-year high in March and is expected to escalate in the coming months.

Some of the tariffs, imposed by former President Donald Trump, affect household goods that could be purchased more cheaply from China. Raimondo previously praised some of Trump’s tariffs on China as “very effective.”  

“We are looking at it. In fact, the president has asked us on his team to analyze that. And so we are in the process of doing that for him and he will have to make that decision,” Raimondo told CNN in an interview when asked about the issue.

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The potential move comes as the Biden White House searches frantically for inflation remedies. Biden released a 3-point plan to combat inflation last week, but even members of his own party criticized it as lackluster.

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“I support the president’s efforts, but we need a bolder vision and faster action,” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif, wrote Thursday. “To meet the moment, Mr. Biden should convene an emergency task force empowered to lower prices and address shortages. We need an all-out mobilization, not just a few ad hoc initiatives reacting to headlines.”

Biden’s plan largely calls on the Federal Reserve and Congress to handle inflation, however, and there is little executive action on Biden’s part.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said she was wrong about the path of inflation after months of downplaying the issue. 

The Biden administration repeatedly insisted last year that inflation would be “transitory.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen admitted last week that her prediction had been “wrong.”

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“I think I was wrong then about the path that inflation would take.” she told CNN at the time. As I mentioned there have been unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that have boosted energy and food prices and um, supply bottlenecks that have affected our economy badly, that I didn’t, at the time, understand.”

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