Biden plans to talk to Xi as he considers lifting tariffs on Beijing

WASHINGTON • President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he plans to talk to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as he considers lifting some tariffs imposed on Beijing in a bid to ease US inflation.

"I plan on having a conversation with President Xi. We haven't set a time yet," Mr Biden told reporters.

Over the weekend, the US leader said a call could be made "soon".

The last talks between the two leaders was on March 18, when Mr Biden warned Mr Xi against assisting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

The tariffs put in place under former US president Donald Trump imposed 25 per cent duties on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports.

The penalties were aimed at punishing what the US says are China's unfair trade practices and protecting US manufacturers.

The move was popular politically, but with inflation at 40-year highs in the United States, Mr Biden is scrambling to find ways to relieve price pressure and has said that lifting some tariffs is under consideration.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is among officials who say that a tariff relaxation could help defuse inflation.

Dr Yellen said: "We all recognise that China engages in a range of unfair trade practices that is important to address but the tariffs we inherited, some serve no strategic purpose and raise cost to consumers."

The Biden-Xi call would likely have to happen soon in part because the Trump tariffs will expire next month unless renewed.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2022, with the headline Biden plans to talk to Xi as he considers lifting tariffs on Beijing. Subscribe