As the White House struggles to get inflation under control, the Biden administration may make some moves on the tariff front to help ease the price pressures. Over the weekend, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the lifting of Trump-era duties on China could be a good idea and is currently under consideration. Many economists have found that Chinese exporters generally didn't lower prices to keep their goods competitive - meaning U.S. importers passed the duties on to American consumers - though others say the decision would not target inflation at its core (with tariffs being around since 2018) and would reward an authoritarian government.
Quote: "It depends on what we're talking about, and what kinds of products," Raimondo told CNN's State of the Union. "For example, steel and aluminum - we've decided to keep some of those tariffs because we need to protect American workers and we need to protect our steel industry. That's a matter of national security. There are other products - household goods, bicycles, etc. - that it may make sense."
More waivers are set to be announced Monday as the U.S. declares a 24-month tariff exemption for solar panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The action would allay concerns for companies that have held billions of dollars in reserves to pay the potential duties, while invoking the Defense Production Act to drive U.S. manufacturing of solar panels in the future. A long-running investigation by the Commerce Department has sought to determine whether the imports from the Southeast Asian countries circumvented tariffs on goods made in China, but it froze significant imports and stalled U.S. projects that could be driving climate efforts in the interim.
New record highs: The national average price for a gallon of gas reached $4.85 on Sunday, according to AAA, doubling from the $2.40 level seen when President Biden took office on Jan. 20, 2021. "We can't take immediate action that I'm aware of yet to figure out how we're bringing down the prices of gasoline back to $3 a gallon," he said last week, "but we can compensate by providing for other necessary costs for families by bringing those down." The administration has pinned the blame of inflated gas costs on price-gouging corporations and Russia's war in Ukraine, while Republicans have pointed to Biden's green policies and advocacy for a clean energy economy.
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