Tom Cotton Demands Joe Biden Explain Why He Eliminated U.S. Tariffs on China

Lintao Zhang/JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
Lintao Zhang/JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is demanding President Joe Biden’s administration officials explain their decision to eliminate United States tariffs on hundreds of China-made products.

As Breitbart News reported last month, Biden’s United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai announced the elimination of Section 301 tariffs on more than 350 products made in China that are imported to the U.S. market.

The China-made products that will escape U.S. tariffs thanks to Biden include breast pumps, solar water heaters, garage door openers, X-ray tables, and thermostats, as well as food products from China such as crab meat, Dungeness crab, and Alaskan sole.

In a letter to Tai, Cotton called the dropping of U.S. tariffs on China  “economic appeasement” and demanded the administration answer questions as to the decision-making behind the move. Cotton wrote:

Days ago, your agency blew a massive hole in our enforcement regime by approving tariff exemptions for over 350 Chinese-made products. Earlier last month, USTR also punted on opening new 301 investigations into China’s economic abuses. These trade concessions are a gift to Chinese producers that continue your agency’s pattern of economic appeasement.”

Cotton wants to know how many of the China-made products exempted from U.S. tariffs can be readily made in America or in a foreign country that is, at least, an ally of the U.S. government.

Cotton also asked:

In estimated total dollar value, how much will trade with China likely increase as a result of these tariff exemptions? Will our trade deficit likely grow or shrink? [Emphasis added]

Did we receive any reciprocal tariff reductions or other trade concessions from China in response to these exemptions? [Emphasis added]

Last December, Cotton marked the 20th anniversary of China’s joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), a decision supported by both political establishments at the time.

“Millions of Americans lost good-paying, blue-collar jobs to the ‘China trade shock’ in the years that followed,” Cotton said. “Countless small towns, main streets, and working class neighborhoods were gutted and boarded up.”

From 2001 to 2018, U.S. free trade with China has eliminated 3.7 million American jobs from the economy — 2.8 million of which were lost in American manufacturing. During that same period, at least 50,000 American manufacturing plants closed down.

Those massive job losses have coincided with a booming U.S.-China trade deficit. In 1985, before China entered the WTO, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled $6 billion. In 2019, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled more than $345 billion.

Meanwhile, a study from 2019 found that permanent U.S. tariffs of 25 percent on all Chinese imports would create more than a million American jobs in five years. American manufacturing is vital to the U.S. economy, as every one manufacturing job supports an additional 7.4 American jobs in other industries.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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