Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNBC on Thursday that the United States will keep tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by the former Trump administration in place for the time being, but will assess how to proceed after a comprehensive review.
“For the time being, we have kept the tariffs put in place by the Trump administration … and we will take stock of what we think is appropriate,” Yellen told cable news network, adding that Washington expects Beijing to honor its trade commitments.
When asked if the tariffs worked, Yellen hesitated, then said, “We’ll look at that.”
The White House said last month it would review all national security measures put in place by former President Donald Trump, including a temporary trade deal with Beijing.
The deal eased tensions between the two largest economies in the world after a devastating trade war that US experts estimate has resulted in a peak loss of 245,000 jobs in the United States, but most tariffs remain in place on both sides.
A recent study showed that China pledged to buy an additional $ 200 billion worth of US goods and services over two years under the interim agreement signed by Trump in January 2020, but Beijing is down 42% from its target last year.
US President Joe Biden has pledged to mend ties with US allies, but has taken a tough stance against China, warning this week that Beijing will pay the price for its human rights violations.
“We are in the process of assessing what our approach to China should be, but there are a host of issues where we see unfair practices,” Yellin told CNBC, citing concerns about China’s behavior in trade, forced technology transfers, and support for high-tech industries.
“We want to make sure that we deal with China and abide by its international obligations in these areas,” she said.
She added that there are areas where countries need to cooperate, such as working to end the epidemic and combat climate change.