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. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai described the tariffs as provide leverage.
Asked about the administration’s tariff review on Wednesday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said: “I don’t have a schedule 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 trade relations and engagement policy 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.”