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The United States has once again imposed high tariffs on China. This is political manipulation!

Not long ago, the US government was hyping China's excess capacity and demonizing China's new energy vehicles and other products. Now, the United States immediately announced a move to impose high tariffs on China. But in fact, the American approach is baseless and its symbolic meaning is greater than its real impact.

On May 14 of this year, the United States government announced that it would further increase tariffs on China, affecting products such as electric vehicles, lithium batteries, photovoltaic products, critical minerals, semiconductors, port cranes, personal protective equipment , etc. Among them, the import tariffs imposed by the United States on Chinese electric vehicles are impressive, increasing from 27,5% to 102,5%, the import tax on solar cells has increased from 25% to 50%, and the rate tariff on lithium batteries. has increased from 7,5% to 25%. It is not difficult to see that the focus of the US government this time is China's new energy-related industries. No wonder many senior US officials have recently been intensely exaggerating the so-called “overcapacity” of China's new energy industry, which is just an excuse to impose additional tariffs.

In fact, this is not the first time the United States has attacked China in this way. In March 2018, the then Trump administration of the United States sparked a trade war with China based on the so-called “301 investigation” and successively imposed high tariffs on approximately US$360 billion of Chinese goods exported to the United States. . In May 2022, before the four-year tariff increase applied to China expires, the Biden administration announced the start of relevant review procedures.

So if the US raises tariffs again in May this year, will it have any effect? The answer is negative. Due to numerous restrictions, Chinese electric vehicles, lithium batteries and chips had not previously entered the US market on a large scale. Data show that currently electric vehicles, medical supplies and semiconductor products account for only 5,9% of China's total exports to the United States, less than 1% of China's total exports. In 2023, the number of electric vehicles exported from China to the United States will be just over 10.000, representing less than 1% of total exports. In the first quarter of 2024, China exported fewer than 2.000 electric vehicles to the United States.

Therefore, Japan's "Nikkey Newspapaer" pointed out that China's relevant industries are not dependent on the US market and that it is difficult for the United States to impose additional tariffs that would have a substantial impact on Chinese companies. The American media Bloomberg also analyzed that the US government's attack on China's green technology sector may seem violent, but in reality it is only symbolic and will hardly weaken China's economic growth.

In this case, why is the US government doing this? There are two reasons: on the one hand, since the United States cannot compete with China in the field of new energy, American policymakers have to use trade protection measures to suppress the development of China's advantageous industries and seek a more competitive environment. favorable to their national interests. companies.

On the other hand, this is more of a political spectacle. 2024 is the election year in the United States, but the American economy is trapped in multiple difficulties, such as high inflation and a high fiscal deficit. Using China as a scapegoat has become the current government's usual choice. As many analysts have noted, the Biden administration's launch of a “tariff war” against China at this time is primarily driven by domestic political needs. The purpose is to show toughness against China on economic issues that concern voters in swing states. to win more votes.

Reality has shown that when the United States imposes tariffs on China, the ultimate victims are ordinary American consumers. For example, the trade war with China launched by the US government in 2018 has taken a heavy toll on US businesses and citizens. According to Moody's estimates, American consumers bear 92% of the cost of additional tariffs on China, resulting in an increase in annual spending by American households of $1.300. Another study shows that the trade war with China has cost American companies $1,7 trillion in market value and nearly 250.000 jobs.

Lastly, I would like to advise the US government to be less politically manipulative and more considerate of ordinary American consumers. The United States government often defends that its government is at the service of the people, and it is hoped that the Biden administration will not forget this.

By: Lei Xiangping, journalist at Chinese media group CMG.

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