An excellent assessment of President Biden’s tariff actions (and non-actions) during the first 100+ days appeared as a recent op-ed in the Washington Post. Here are some excerpts:

…. Biden’s first four months in office have seen an abrupt reversal in a number of his predecessor’s policies, but Trump’s costly record of reckless tariffs remains intact.

…. This unexpected failure to act has very real consequences.

…. Biden has trumpeted their commitment to reviving a rules-based global order based on negotiated commitments and standards — a clear and unambiguous rejection of Trump’s unilateralist approach.

…. Previously, the United States would lead the way in negotiating under established trading rules and referring trade disputes to the World Trade Organization (WTO), where Washington has historically enjoyed a high rate of success. But Trump, disdainful of multilateral organizations, trashed the WTO’s reputation and sabotaged its operations.

…. The administration needs to take steps to repair U.S. trade policy — and do it now.

…. A strong case can also be made for immediate steps to cancel the tariffs the Trump administration imposed upon China — and which quite predictably triggered retaliatory measures against U.S. exporters.

…. Returning U.S. trade policy to traditional norms doesn’t mean restoring the mantra of free trade, but reversing Trump’s unilateral policy errors will provide a more workable foundation to promote the kind of jobs-promoting fair trade that the administration favors.

“Trump’s Reckless Tariffs Remain Intact: Biden’s Failure to Reverse Them has Real Consequences.” Washington Post (May 24, 2921).

About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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