Photo taken on May 1, 2022 shows a container ship docking at the Qianwan Container Terminal in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province. [Photo/Xinhua]

The “Chinese tariffs,” which are under review by the U.S. Trade Representative to find out whether or not they are effective, have in fact failed economically, politically and legally, according to an opinion piece on the website of October 10 Hill.

The article pointed out that the tariffs, originally imposed between 2018 and 2019 by then-President Donald Trump based on Section 301 of the Commerce Act of 1974 and which are still in effect under the President Biden, have caused serious damage to the American economy.

Contrary to Trump’s expectations that the tariffs would ensure higher US prices and lower Chinese prices, China shifted its exports to third markets without changing its prices. “In fact, China’s exports to the world did not decline and were at the same price after the tariffs as before.”

After the tariffs went into effect, he noted, U.S. retail prices for the affected products did not change, and U.S. wholesalers and retailers bore the full cost. “The competitiveness of US exports has also taken a hit, given the higher costs of imported inputs.”

The biggest myth that tariffs would boost US manufacturing jobs has been debunked, according to the article. Instead of increasing, US manufacturing employment fell more than 2% in “industries most exposed to tariffs and Chinese retaliation”.

Finally, the claim that the revenue generated by tariffs outweighs their costs has also been shown to be absurd, he noted. “The 2018 tariffs alone cost about 0.05% of gross domestic product (GDP). Add the 2019 tariffs and the economic damage climbs to around 0.2% of GDP.

The article also pointed out that the Chinese tariff proponents’ latest map that Section 301 brought Beijing to the negotiating table is too absurd. “The purchase agreements built into Trump’s Phase 1 U.S.-China deal were embarrassing and did not come close to making U.S. agricultural exporters ‘whole’ after Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). There was no Phase 2, and even the aspirations for that pale in comparison to what the TPP promised.”

To make matters worse, the United States was forced to defend tariffs at the World Trade Organization (WTO), citing “an implausible (though creative) affirmative defense of ‘public morality.'” The argument that “Chinese intransigence was viewed by Americans as morally repugnant”, did not work.

In light of the current evidence, he concluded by calling on the United States to redouble its efforts in the classroom and “reclaim its tariff authority to curb Section 301.”