The Biden administration will allow some products imported from China to once again circumvent strict tariffs imposed by President Donald J. Trump, the office of the United States Trade Representative said Wednesday.
The trade office said it would reintroduce certain tariff exclusions that had expired at the end of 2020, allowing some companies to avoid taxes on Chinese products not available elsewhere.
Mr Trump slammed China with tariffs on $360 billion worth of goods amid a trade war between Washington and Beijing. Amid corporate outrage, the Trump administration allowed certain products to evade the tariffs. But Mr. Trump declined to extend those lockouts at the end of his term, a decision that infuriated many business leaders.
The decision announced Wednesday reinstates 352 of the 549 eligible waivers and keeps them in effect until the end of 2022.
The Biden administration has come under pressure from lawmakers and the business community to restart the lockout process, as the tariffs hurt US businesses and consumers and put the US at a competitive disadvantage. Key business leaders have expressed frustration with President Biden’s trade policy in China and have urged his administration to drop China’s tariffs and clarify the economic engagement between the world’s largest economies.
Thousands of companies asked for an exemption from Trump’s tariffs, which ranged from 7.5 percent to 25 percent. The Trump administration granted a limited number of exclusions, allowing companies that imported microscopes for electric motors, forklifts, and more to evade the charges.
The expiration of the exemptions in 2020 meant that companies had to start paying taxes again to import a variety of goods from China.