Biden set to quadruple tariffs on Chinese EVs, critical minerals

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(Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash)

By Nick Pope
Daily Caller News Foundation

The Biden administration is reportedly set to significantly enhance tariffs targeting Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) and other green energy-related products as early as next week, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The administration will approximately quadruple tariffs against Chinese EVs, and U.S. officials will also increase levies against critical minerals, solar products and batteries that are sourced from China, according to the WSJ, citing people familiar with the matter. The question of Chinese tariffs has divided Biden administration policymakers, and the reportedly forthcoming tariffs are in response to growing fears that Chinese companies are beginning to ramp up green technology exports and pose a threat to American firms.

China dominates the global supply chains for the raw minerals needed to manufacture many different types of green technologies that the Biden administration is pushing to advance its sweeping climate agenda. The administration has sought cooperation with China on long-term climate goals, but its dominance of the green supply chain has also spurred considerable debate about the degree of access that cheaper Chinese products should have to the U.S. market as American green energy companies are trying to stand themselves up.

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The Biden administration is reportedly focused particularly on Chinese EVs, which currently face a 25% tariff, according to the WSJ. The reported forthcoming changes will increase that tariff to approximately 100%, a substantial increase reflecting the concern of some American car manufacturers and legislators that the scale of Chinese EV manufacturing could potentially overcome the 25% tariff.

“China will take all necessary measures to defend its rights and interests,” a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday while denouncing the reportedly forthcoming moves, the WSJ reported. The official announcement could come as early as Tuesday, though it is possible that the timeline gets pushed back.

The politics of the upcoming presidential election are also a factor in the administration’s decision on the tariffs, according to the WSJ.

Former President Donald Trump has warned of a “bloodbath” for the American auto industry if he does not win the election because he perceives President Joe Biden as too weak on China.

Trump has claimed that he would consider hitting all Chinese exports with a tariff of 60% or more if reelected, the WSJ reported. Both Trump and President Joe Biden have made an effort to highlight to working-class voters in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania that they are committed to protecting their interests from foreign competitors in China and elsewhere.

The White House, the Treasury Department, the Commerce Department and the Department of Energy did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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