“With respect to tariffs, there is a place for tariffs. The 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum have in fact helped save American jobs in the steel and aluminum industries,” Raimondo said, indicating a unique position of agreement with the policies of the previous administration.
“So what do we do with tariffs? We have to level the playing field. No one can out-compete the American worker if the playing field is level,” Raimondo continued. “And the fact is, China’s actions are uncompetitive, coercive, underhanded. They’ve proven they’ll do whatever it takes. And so I plan to use all the tools in my toolbox as aggressively as possible to protect American workers and businesses from unfair Chinese practices.”
President Donald Trump in March 2018 inflicted a 25 percent tax on steel and a 10 percent tax on aluminum imports. Some countries were briefly spared from the tariffs. As for now, South Korea, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil are forever excused. The taxes on Canada and Mexico were raised with the signing of the U.S. Mexico and Canada Agreement.
In the same month in 2018, Trump fired the first salvo in the trade war with China, imposing tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responded with tariffs of revenge and the conflict has intensified since. Trump had argued that the tariffs were important to force the CCP to drop unfair trade methods and pay a price for years of widespread intellectual property theft from the United States.
Trump had also targeted private Chinese companies over national security concerns, including the potential that troves of data on Americans were sent to the communist government in Beijing.
Raimondo made the comments in response to a journalist who had also urged her to explain the Biden administration’s attitude on TikTok, a social media app that Trump threatened to forbid unless the Chinese company that owns it sells its American business to a U.S. company.
“So I would say, here’s my broad view, and I don’t want to get into details on any particular company,” Raimondo said. “My broad view is what we do on offense is more important than we do on defense. To compete in the long run with China, we need to rebuild America in all of the ways we’re talking about today, and by the way, do that with our allies. We have to work with our allies and find common ground where we can.”