US trade chief recommends higher tariffs to address China’s ‘unfair’ practices

By Andrea Shalal and David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday recommended higher tariffs on a range of Chinese goods and called for expanded enforcement to address China’s continued technology transfer actions that harmed U.S. workers and manufacturers.

Tai’s office released a long-awaited four-year review of tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump which concluded they had been effective in encouraging China to address some issues, but further action was needed.

“Instead of pursuing fundamental reform, (China) has persisted, and in some cases become aggressive, including through cyber intrusions and cyber theft, in its attempts to acquire and absorb foreign technology, which further burden or restrict U.S. commerce,” the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office said in a statement.

The report said research showed that previous tariffs imposed on China had a minimal impact on U.S. economy-wide prices and employment, but had been effective in reducing U.S. imports of Chinese goods, while increasing imports from other countries.

To bolster the impact of the recommended tariff increases, USTR also called for increased funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to beef up enforcement, and urged greater collaboration between the private sector and government to combat what it called “state-sponsored technology theft.”

The report also recommended establishing exclusions from the tariffs for certain machinery used in domestic manufacturing, including 19 specific types of solar manufacturing equipment, and continued work on efforts to diversify U.S. supply chains.

USTR said it would issue a Federal Register notice next week announcing procedures for interested persons to comment on the proposed tariff changes and recommended exclusions.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Louise Heavens)



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