Biden wants to significantly increase tariffs on Chinese steel

US President Joe Biden is seeking a significant increase in punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum from China. The White House said on Wednesday that a possible tripling of these taxes would protect the US steel and shipbuilding industries from “unfair practices.” The high-quality US steel and aluminum products would currently have to compete with products artificially cheapened by the Chinese state, which would also be produced with significantly higher carbon dioxide emissions.

Biden's statement was released during the US president's campaign tour through the state of Pennsylvania, which is a traditional center of the US steel industry. The president, who wants to run for a second term in the November election and is expected to be challenged by his predecessor Donald Trump, wanted to speak to steel workers in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

With his demand for higher tariffs, Biden turned to the responsible US Trade Representative Katherine Tai. In response to a petition from five US unions, it wants to investigate Chinese trade practices in the shipbuilding, shipping and logistics sectors.

The Trade Representative should consider tripling current tariffs on Chinese steel and metal products, the White House said. According to the White House, these tariffs imposed during Trump's presidency currently average 7.5 percent.

Beijing's policies and subsidies in favor of the domestic steel and aluminum sectors have resulted in “US products being undermined by artificially discounted Chinese alternatives,” the White House complained. Biden received official support from the steel workers union USW in March for his bid for a second term. In March he also spoke out against the planned takeover of the Pittsburgh-based steel producer US Steel by the Japanese company Nippon Steel.