In Reversal, Biden Turns To Trump’s Playbook To Get Tough On China
U.S. President Joe Biden gives his remarks during a campaign event for re-election on April 16, 2024 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on his administration to consider tripling the tariff on Chinese steel, reminiscent of the trade policy of his predecessor and chief rival in 2024, former President Donald Trump.

Biden spoke at United Steelworkers headquarters in Pittsburgh, pitching union members on stricter trade policy on China to protect American jobs. During his address, Biden called on United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai to consider tripling the tariff on Chinese steel, which currently averages 7.5%, according to USA Today.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the increase “would be in addition to a separate 25% tariff on steel and a 10% duty on aluminum imposed under the Trump administration.”

Biden has borrowed Trump’s strategy to confront China after criticizing it during the 2020 campaign. In 2019, Biden asserted that Trump’s trade policy regarding China has delivered negative results for Americans.

“President Trump may think he’s being tough on China. All that he’s delivered as a consequence of that is American farmers, manufacturers and consumers losing and paying more,” Biden said during a speech in New York. “His economic decision-making is so shortsighted and as shortsighted as the rest of his foreign policy.”

While Biden said the U.S. needed to “get tough” on China, the then-candidate argued that the best way forward would be to strengthen ties with the Communist-run country.

“China can’t afford to ignore half the global economy if we’re united. That gives us substantial leverage to shape the future rules of the road on everything from the environment to labor to trade to technology to transparency,” Biden said.

Biden appeared to walk back that campaign stance on Wednesday, the reversal coming as Trump has sought to make inroads with staunchly pro-Democrat unions.


The Teamsters union, a reliable source of support for Democrats, gave $45,000 to the Republican National Committee through the union’s political action committee in February. The donation is the maximum amount the PAC can give.

The donation itself isn’t as significant as what it could represent for the future of the union’s support. Teamsters’ political committee donated the money after Trump met with the union’s executive board in what the former president described as “a very productive meeting.”

Biden’s Wednesday speech also comes as steel industry labor leaders have protested against a potential sale of U.S. Steel to Japanese-based Nippon Steel Corporation. The Biden Department of Justice last week announced an antitrust investigation into the sale, a move that could have negative impacts on the United States’ relationship with Japan.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  In Reversal, Biden Turns To Trump’s Playbook To Get Tough On China