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Trump or Biden? Either way, U.S. seems poised to preserve heavy tariffs on imports

Trump or Biden? Either way, U.S. seems poised to preserve heavy tariffs on imports
Donald Trump and Joe Biden agree on essentially nothing, from taxes to immigration. Yet on trade, they have embraced surprisingly similar approaches.

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Biden's trade policy mirrors Trump's protectionist approach

The United States appears to be maintaining a protectionist trade policy, regardless of who wins the presidency. President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on foreign steel, which hurt Michigan auto supplier Clips & Clamps Industries. President Joe Biden has largely preserved Trump’s tariffs on steel, aluminum, and a mass of goods from China. Biden recently announced new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, advanced batteries, and other products. The protectionist tilt reflects the widespread view that opening the nation to more imports, especially from China, wiped out American manufacturing jobs. Both candidates have ditched a U.S. commitment to frictionless trade. Trump tried to pummel America’s trading partners with import taxes, while Biden favors subsidizing U.S. key industries. A consensus has formed in recent years that U.S. trade policy had to change. China’s rise as America’s No. 1 geopolitical rival has created a bipartisan effort to reduce America’s reliance on Beijing for supplies. Trump’s import taxes failed to return jobs to the American heartland, according to a study by economist David Autor. Biden retained many of Trump’s trade policies, including steel and aluminum tariffs and China tariffs. The United States seems unlikely to reverse its move toward protectionism anytime soon.

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