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March 8, 2021

Commerce Secretary Praises Section 232 Tariffs As Biden Administration Outlines Trade Agenda

As S&P Global Platts reported last week, when asked about the Trump administration Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said they had been “effective.” Raimondo also noted, however, that the Biden administration will “review of all of these policies and decide what it makes sense to retain.”

The commerce secretary’s remarks came after the Office of the United States Trade Representative released the Biden administration’s 2021 Trade Policy Agenda and 2020 Annual Report, which must be submitted annually by statute on March 1.

Elements of the trade policy agenda include:

  • Addressing China with a comprehensive strategy and systematic approach, including using all available tools to take on the country’s unfair trade practices;
  • Using strong trade enforcement measures to ensure U.S. trading partners live up to their commitments.
  • Developing and reinforcing resilient manufacturing supply chains, especially those made up of small businesses;
  • Opening markets and reducing trade barriers, noting that export-oriented producers, manufacturers and businesses enjoy greater than average productivity and wages;
  • Repairing partnerships and alliances and restoring U.S. leadership around the world, including at international organizations such as the World Trade Organization;
  • Respecting the dignity of work and valuing Americans as workers and wage-earners, including a commitment to self-initiate and advance labor enforcement petitions under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and combat forced labor;
  • Ensuring that frontline workers have access to necessary personal protective equipment and promoting long-term supply chain resiliency for equipment and supplies;
  • Building bilateral and multilateral consensus on how trade policies address the climate crisis, bolster sustainable renewable energy supply chains, end unfair trade practices, discourage regulatory arbitrage, and foster innovation and creativity; and
  • Supporting domestic initiatives that eliminate social and economic structural barriers to equality and economic opportunity and pursuing the same objectives in negotiations with our trading partners.