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Biden says he would remove tariffs on China

President Trump is “going after China the wrong way” in a go-it-alone trade war that has damaged U.S. agriculture and manufacturing, said Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, in an interview to be aired on Thursday. Asked if he would keep the U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, Biden replied, “No. Hey, look, who said Trump’s idea is a good one?”

“Manufacturing has gone in recession. Agriculture lost billions of dollars that taxpayers had to pay,” said Biden. “We’re going after China in the wrong way.” Biden said China would reform its trade policies if there were a broad international coalition calling for it to follow world trade rules.

“That’s when China’s behavior is going to change,” he said. “And what we have done is we have disarmed ourselves … We poked our finger in the eye of all of our allies out there.”

China was the No. 1 customer for U.S. agricultural exports before the trade war, buying an average of $21 billion a year of the products. The USDA estimates exports to China will total $13 billion this fiscal year. The “phase one” trade agreement calls for China to buy $36.6 billion worth of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood products this calendar year. Through June it had imported just $8.7 billion worth of the goods.

The lead trade negotiators for China and the United States, Vice Premier Liu He and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, are scheduled to hold a six-month reivew of the “phase one” agreement on August 15, according to published reports. China is lagging on purchases of manufactured goods, energy, and services as well as food and farm exports. There has been no discussion of a “phase two” agreement as relations between the countries have become more contentious.

Biden’s campaign said he will “stand up to China by working with our allies to negotiate from the strongest possible position.”

The former vice president’s comments on tariffs were part of an interview to be aired at the online convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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