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Washington (AFP) – President Joe Biden has yet to decide whether to end some tariffs on China ahead of an expected phone call this week with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, a senior official said Tuesday.
John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said the administration believes tariffs imposed in a trade war under former President Donald Trump weren’t working, but Biden hasn’t decided yet. a next step.
“He wants a review of the tariffs in place to make sure they are aligned with our strategic economic priorities, that they are in our national best interests and, quite frankly, in the interests of the American people, but he does not haven’t made a decision,” Kirby told reporters.
“I have no decision to make on the President’s rates. He is working with his team,” Kirby added.
However, the senior official made it clear that Biden was unhappy with the tariffs, which imposed 25% tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports in retaliation for what the US says are trade practices. regularly disloyal to Beijing.
“We believe…the tariffs that were put in place by his predecessor were poorly designed. We believe they have increased costs for American families and small businesses, as well as ranchers. And that’s , you know, without actually addressing some of China’s harmful trade practices,” Kirby said.
“So we thought the previous administration’s approach to tariffs was one, was bad business.”
The call, which is expected this week but has yet to be finalized, will be the fifth between Xi and Biden since the Democrat took office in 2021.
Describing the US-China relationship as “one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world,” Kirby said Biden and Xi would cover “everything from tensions over Taiwan to the war in Ukraine, as well as how we handle better competition between our two nations, certainly in the economic field.”
“The focus is on security challenges and tensions, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region – in relation to Taiwan, in relation to territorial claims in the South and East China Seas, but there there is also economic competition.
One of the main focuses of the call will be roughly what Kirby called Biden’s “relationship trend” with China.
“He wants to make sure that the lines of communication with President Xi on all issues, whether they are again issues on which we agree or issues on which we have significant difficulties – that they can always pick up the phone and talk to each other candidly,” Kirby said.
One irritant in the relationship likely to arise is a reported plan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Biden ally, to travel to Taiwan.
As second in line to the US presidency, the speaker needs an important security detail when traveling overseas and reports of her trip have infuriated Beijing, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan.
Kirby said he wanted to “emphasize that the speaker did not announce any travel.”
© 2022 AFP