Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen told the New York Times this summer that the tariffs hurt American consumers, but she also warned that Chinese subsidies to exporters present a challenge for the United States. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai described tariffs as leverage.
Understanding the Infrastructure Bill
- A trillion dollar package has passed. The Senate passed a vast bipartisan infrastructure package on August 10, closing weeks of intense negotiations and debate over the largest federal investment in the country’s aging public works system in more than a decade.
- The final vote. The final tally in the Senate was 69 for 30 against. The legislation, yet to be passed by the House, would affect nearly every facet of the U.S. economy and strengthen the nation’s response to global warming.
- Main areas of expenditure. Overall, the bipartite plan focuses spending on transport, utilities and pollution control.
- Transport. About $ 110 billion would go to roads, bridges and other transportation projects; $ 25 billion for airports; and $ 66 billion for railways, giving Amtrak the largest funding it has received since its inception in 1971.
- Utilities. Senators also included $ 65 billion to connect hard-to-reach rural communities to high-speed internet and help enroll low-income city dwellers who cannot afford it, and $ 8 billion for Western water infrastructure. .
- Depollution: About $ 21 billion would go to cleaning up abandoned wells and mines and Superfund sites.
Asked about the administration’s tariff review on Wednesday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said: “I don’t have a timetable for you on when this review will be completed.”
Business impatience with the administration’s approach is growing. Business leaders say they need to know whether American companies will be able to do business with China, which is one of the largest and fastest growing markets. Business groups say their members are disadvantaged by tariffs, which has increased costs for US importers.
“We should do everything we can to increase China’s use and dependence on US technology products,” said Patrick Gelsinger, chief executive of Intel, in an interview last week. The administration “is trying to define a framework for its political engagement with China,” he said.
“For me, just saying ‘let’s be tough on China’ is not a policy, it is a campaign slogan,” he added. “It’s time to get down to the real work of having a real policy of trade relations and engagement around trade and technology exports with China. “
In early August, a group of influential US business groups sent a letter to Ms. Yellen and Ms. Tai urging the administration to resume trade negotiations with China and reduce tariffs on imported Chinese products.
“The main type of dilemma that businesses face right now is uncertainty,” said Craig Allen, chairman of the China-US Business Council, who organized the letter. “Will the tariffs stay in place? Are they in place in perpetuity? What is the exclusion process for requesting a tariff exemption? Nobody knows.”