EXCLUSIVE: Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio is demanding President Biden keep China tariffs in place in order to protect the American workforce from unfair competition.
In a letter sent to Biden Thursday, exclusively reviewed by Fox News Digital, Ryan urged the administration to keep tariffs against China, which would be in accordance with Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, to “demonstrate our willingness to prioritize the livelihood of American workers.”
The Biden administration is considering a draw down of tariffs on Chinese goods in an effort to combat record-high inflation in the U.S., and 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.
The congressman, who is running for Senate in Ohio against Trump-backed Republican JD Vance, argues that tariff reductions would “strip the U.S. of leverage in negotiations with China, inundate American companies with a slew of imports they may not be able to withstand, and would essentially reward China for failing to comply with the Phase One Agreement.”
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In addition, Ryan writes that reducing tariffs would only serve to “embolden” an “already aggressive Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to further undermine U.S. interests” and also “naive” to disregard China’s “recent malign activity.”
“We should not reward this behavior by ending these tariffs imposed on them nor should we signal to the world that cheating our trade laws will be tolerated,” he continued.
Ryan cited examples of China’s genocide against Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region and the country’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin despite his deadly, scorched-earth war in Ukraine.
“We cannot continue to enable China’s practices that cripple our workforce by allowing Chinese made products to flood our markets. Instead, we need to prioritize American workers and American manufacturing companies,” concluded Ryan in his plea with Biden to keep Section 301 tariffs in place.
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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.
“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.”
China has also become a central campaign issue in the race between Ryan and Vance to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
Ryan in a new campaign ad, first shared with Fox News Digital last week, highlights a five-year-old interview from Vance where the then-venture capitalist appeared to deflect blame away from free trade deals with countries like China for the loss of American manufacturing jobs.
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The Vance campaign, pushing back against the new ad, pointed to a Ryan tweet from July 7, 2018, when the congressman wrote that Trump’s tariffs were “designed to inflict maximum damage on the U.S. economy, for minimal gain.”
The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the letter.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and Angers Hagstrom contributed to this report.