Experts urge removal of US extra tariffs

Updated: May 5, 2022
In the four-year review, the USTR will examine the tariff actions on Chinese-origin products from July 6, 2018 to August 23, 2018. [Photo/Sipa]

Sensible steps can boost companies in two countries and tackle inflation

Removing additional tariffs on Chinese goods will significantly ease the pressure on companies in both China and the United States, and help the world to curb inflation, experts said on Wednesday.

Their remarks followed the Office of the United States Trade Representative, or USTR, announcement on Tuesday of the commencement of the statutory four-year review of the continuation of the US "Section 301" tariffs on Chinese products.

In the four-year review, the USTR will examine the tariff actions on Chinese-origin products from July 6, 2018 to August 23, 2018.

Based on this review, the US government can determine whether to maintain the tariffs, change the tariff rates, or remove the tariffs.

In the first quarter of this year, China-US trade grew 12 percent year-on-year to $185.92 billion, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed.

According to Tu Xinquan, dean of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, the additional US tariffs on Chinese products have put heavy burdens on US companies and aggravated inflation levels in the country.

In the US, many businesses involved in trade have been seeking rollback of the additional tariffs on Chinese products.

Besides, many of the tariffs were levied through administrative orders rather than being based on relevant laws. This led to a series of complaints and lawsuits that challenged the authority of those orders issued by the former administration, he said.

In the two-step review process, the first step is for the USTR to offer an opportunity for US domestic industries that benefited from the tariffs to request their continuation. Legally, the tariffs are to terminate four years after their application, if no US party submits a request that they be continued.

If there are requests to continue, the tariffs are received, under the statute the following step requires the USTR to undertake a review of the effectiveness of the "Section 301" tariffs on achieving their objectives and their impact on the US economy and consumers.

Cancelling the additional tariffs on Chinese products will also help many parts of the world to curb inflation, because stable product and commodity supplies from China and the US-the world's two largest economies-will facilitate the world to build strong industrial and supply chains, said Zhang Yongjun, deputy chief economist with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

As the US dollar is a global currency, the increase in its supply, which far outpaced that of other global currencies like the euro, directly pushed up prices in the US, besides fueling inflation worldwide, which has been exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he noted.

Amid global inflation and growing pressures on the global supply chain, tariffs have become an inconvenient factor that inhibits enterprises from conducting international trade cooperation, said Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.

China and the US, he said, should not only remove additional tariffs imposed during their trade disputes, but even further reduce tariffs to make them even lower than the pre-dispute levels. That will significantly boost expectations on normal global supply chain operations, bolster market confidence and facilitate global economic recovery.

"As the world's two largest economies, healthy bilateral relations between China and the US are important not only to them but the world, as the global economy has been facing a number of uncertainties in recent years," he said.

Woody Guo, president for China unit at Herbalife Nutrition, a US-based manufacturer of nutrition products, said it is beneficial for China and the US to enhance their ties in the area of trade and economic cooperation.

"In China, consumption upgrade and domestic demand expansion will help the country to grow its consumer base under the dual-circulation development paradigm, providing huge growth potential for foreign enterprises, including Herbalife Nutrition," Guo said.

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