U.S. to Announce New Tariffs on Chinese Electric Vehicles

The Biden administration is set to announce new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and other goods as early as next week, according to people familiar with the matter, as President Biden looks for ways to protect America’s nascent clean energy sector from a surge of cheap Chinese imports.

The move comes amid growing concern within the administration that Mr. Biden’s efforts to jump-start domestic manufacturing of clean energy products could be undercut by China, which has been flooding global markets with cheap solar panels, batteries, electric vehicles and other products.

The long-awaited tariffs are the result of a four-year review of the levies that former President Donald J. Trump imposed on more than $300 billion of Chinese imports in 2018. Most of the Trump tariffs are expected to remain in place, but Mr. Biden plans to go beyond those by raising levies in areas that the president showered with subsidies in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

That includes Chinese electric vehicles, which currently face a 25 percent tariff. The administration is expected to raise that to a much higher rate in order to make it prohibitively expensive to buy a Chinese EV. The administration has been considering tariffs as high as 100 percent, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.

Mr. Biden took steps earlier this year to block internet-connected Chinese cars and trucks from entry to the American auto market, including electric vehicles, saying they posed risks to national security because their operating systems could send sensitive information to Beijing.

The president is looking to ratchet up pressure on China and demonstrate his willingness to protect American manufacturing ahead of his face-off against Mr. Trump in the November presidential election.

The fate of the China tariffs has been the subject of intense debate within the White House since Mr. Biden took office, with economic and political advisers often clashing over how to proceed. But China’s move this year to ramp up production of the same products — electric vehicles, lithium batteries and solar panels — that the Biden administration has been investing billions of dollars to start producing in the U.S. has re-inflamed trade tensions between the two countries, compelling Mr. Biden to press ahead with more aggressive trade restrictions.

Mr. Trump has said that he would escalate his trade war with China if re-elected and said earlier this year that he is considering imposing tariffs of 60 percent or more on Chinese imports.

The scale of the Biden administration’s tariffs, which are expected to be applied to Chinese electric vehicles, batteries and solar products, are not clear. The planned release of the review, which is being conducted by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, was reported earlier by Bloomberg News.

Keith Bradshercontributed reporting.

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