Headline RoundupMay 14th, 2024

How Do Biden’s China Tariffs Compare to Trump’s?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced steep new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and other tech and energy goods. Many compared the move to former President Donald Trump’s controversial tariffs on Chinese trade goods. 

The Details: In 2018, Trump raised tariffs to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese products, building on a trade war that also involved Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Biden’s China tariffs mark a sharp increase from 25% — to 100% for Chinese EVs — but focus on strategic tech and clean energy manufacturing. Both presidents cited China’s purportedly “unfair” trade practices. 

Trump Comparisons Vary: While right-rated outlets tended not to publish opinions about the tariffs by Tuesday afternoon, news articles from the right often painted Biden as either hypocritical, because he previously criticized Trump’s tariffs, or as vindicating Trump’s policies by continuing them. Others framed Biden as outdoing Trump. Some on the left highlighted the differences between the two presidents’ tariff policies; a New York Times (Lean Left bias) analysis argued that Trump’s 2018 goal of bringing back outsourced factory jobs was “very different” from Biden’s goal of increasing U.S. production in “emerging high-tech industries.” 

Protectionism vs. Protectionism: Some opinion writers in business outlets criticized both leaders for pursuing economic protectionism, which one writer said would weaken U.S. interests. Some news and analysis highlighted how both Trump and Biden “want higher tariffs” — Trump has called for tariffs on even more Chinese imports — thereby ensuring more protectionism no matter who wins the 2024 election.

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