May 30, 2024

weng wentao speaking in front of a dark blue backdrop with white letters on it that don't fit in the frame and say "e Second S"

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao at a press conference at the National People’s Congress (NPC), in Beijing, China March 6, 2024.
Photo: Tingshu Wang (Reuters)

China says it “firmly opposes” new tariffs increases announced by the Biden administration Tuesday on $18 billion worth of imported goods, including electric vehicles and semiconductors.

“The increase in … tariffs by the United States contradicts President Joe Biden’s commitment to ‘not seek to suppress and contain China’s development’ and ‘not to seek to decouple and break links with China,’” China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement, CNN reported. “This action will seriously impact the atmosphere of bilateral cooperation.”

The Chinese Commerce Ministry encouraged the Biden administration to “correct its wrongdoing.”

The new tariffs increases are meant “to protect American workers and business” and “counter China’s unfair trade practices,” such as “flooding global markets with artificially low-priced exports” in strategic sectors the U.S. is already investing in, according to the White House. The U.S. is increasing the tariff rate on semiconductors to 50% from 25% by 2025, and increasing the tariff rate on electric vehicles under Section 301 from 25% to 100% this year.

“To encourage China to eliminate its unfair trade practices regarding technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, the President is directing increases in tariffs across strategic sectors such as steel and aluminum, semiconductors, electric vehicles, batteries, critical minerals, solar cells, ship-to-shore cranes, and medical products,” the Biden administration said.

Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said the country “opposes the unilateral imposition of tariffs which violate (World Trade Organization) rules,” during a press conference before the White House announcement, adding that China “will take all necessary actions to protect its legitimate rights.” He added that China’s growing energy industry, which is targeted by the increased tariffs, is a result of “continued technical innovation, complete industrial and supply chains, and full-on market competition,” and “not (of subsidies).”

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