WASHINGTON - US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Monday that fighting inflation is a more complicated issue than can be addressed with a singular focus on China tariffs and that it was important to bring a thoughtful, strategic approach to the US-China trade relationship.
In a speech to the Washington International Trade Association, Tai said inflation was scary and hurting Americans' pocketbooks, but was a complicated issue with many causes.
The economy is large and there are a lot of pressure points and levers in that economy, according to Tai. If we're going to take an issue like inflation, and given the seriousness that it requires, our approach to tools for mitigating and addressing inflation needs to respect that it is a more complicated issue than just tariffs at the border. According to Tai's comments, a debate within President Joe Biden'sBiden's administration was ongoing over whether to cut some US Section 301 duties on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports of up to 25 per cent imposed by former President Donald Trump.
As a result of US ties with China, Tai said it was important for Biden administration to take a thoughtful, strategic approach to how we manage this relationship. The administration's most important job is to figure out how to get this relationship right - and nothing about this relationship is easy to do, Tai added.
Tai is at odds with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the future of the Section 301 tariffs, with Yellen arguing that they hurt US consumers and businesses and could have an effect on reducing prices.
Tai said the Biden administration would begin defining its vision for another key trade initiative with 13 Asian countries over the next two weeks. Tai said that the talks in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework need to be holistic, extremely flexible, adaptable and really pragmatic. She hopes to have a more formalised convening of participating countries this summer, including at the trade minister level, to discuss the negotiating pillars of labour rights, high environmental standards, digital trade and supply chain resilience.