Top White House officials are constructing a path forward on how to deal with China as the Biden administration's trade leaders want higher tariffs on Beijing's most favored industries while key advisers want to scale back penalties on thousands of other products, Politico reports.
''There's much that remains unresolved because they're negotiating'' on new tariff action, said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who met with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai this week on Capitol Hill with other members of the Senate Finance Committee.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan wants the Biden administration to announce additional tariffs on some key Chinese industries while removing penalties on thousands of other products, according to people who spoke with the news outlet.
But Tai wants China to have time to engage in trade talks first even though she said just three weeks ago that President Joe Biden plans to ''build on'' existing tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese imports and confront Beijing for failing to fulfill its obligations under a trade agreement brokered by then-President Donald Trump.
Tai also said the Biden administration didn't want to ''inflame'' tensions with China.
''I think it's going to be important to review China's performance with China, and that's going to be the critical first step in my mind,'' Tai said in late September of the two-year deal signed by Trump that will expire at the end of the year.
China's commitment to buy $200 billion in U.S. farm products and other goods by then as part of the agreement will likely not be fulfilled, though.
Sullivan wants to move quickly on announcing further moves toward higher tariffs, while Tai says the U.S. should give China time to engage in trade talks.
A senior White House official told Politico that the Biden administration ''conducted a robust interagency review of the U.S.-China trade relationship to implement President Biden's vision for rebalancing the U.S.-China trade and economic relationship in a way that protects American workers from unfair trade policies and strengthens the middle class.''
"The final decision had the full support of President Biden, the National Security Council and relevant agencies," a USTR spokesperson added.
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