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To Fulfill His Economic Vision, President Biden Must End Trump’s Tariffs
COMMENTARY

February 25, 2022by Ann Brunett, Chief Operating Officer, The Mitchell Group
To Fulfill His Economic Vision, President Biden Must End Trump’s Tariffs
In this April 9, 2021, photo, cargo containers are shown stacked near cranes at PortMiami in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, file)

On March 1, President Joe Biden will deliver the first State of the Union address of his presidency.

After one year in office, the speech will come as his administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill debate key questions over how our economy will fully recover from the blow dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as concerns over inflation continue to grow.

President Biden’s address will also come as we head into a critical midterm election season that could dictate the tone for the remainder of his first term in the White House, and voters will certainly be watching with a heightened level of scrutiny as he lays out his plans for the economy.

To demonstrate that he is truly dedicated to building back an economy that is stronger and more robust than the one he inherited, President Biden should make it a priority in the year ahead to finally roll back the harmful tariffs implemented by the Trump administration and put an end to its long-running trade war with China.


While we need to hold China accountable, this failed and misguided trade policy has been a drag on economic progress for nearly four years, and its end is well overdue.

Former President Donald Trump made the trade war one of the cornerstone features of his four years in the White House. On the campaign trail and in the Oval Office, he talked about pushing back on the Chinese government’s unfair trade practices and rebalancing the economic relationship between our countries. To accomplish this, he put hefty tariffs on goods imported from China, claiming that China would bear the costs and the American economy would take off as a result. 

Except that didn’t come to fruition, and for one simple fact: the tariffs were not paid by China.

Tariffs are taxes that the American government levies on American businesses for the cost of importing the things they need to manufacture goods and operate in the United States.


Since the start of the trade war, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has collected more than $120 billion in tariffs, with research showing that American businesses were on the hook for more than 90% of the total costs of those tariffs. 

Those costs have brought severe consequences for both American businesses and consumers.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost due to the impact of the trade war, and the costs have been borne by U.S. importers and consumers, not China.

Making matters worse, China has failed woefully in its promises to increase purchases of U.S. goods made in the Phase One trade deal signed by the Trump administration, meaning much of the pain has been for naught. 

That is money that businesses could reinvest to grow, hire new employees and light the spark to power a full economic recovery, and it’s why Congress, President Biden and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai need to change our nation’s trade policy and lift the tariffs left behind by the Trump administration.

It’s time to finally lift the burden that tariffs have placed on American businesses and equip them to play a more significant role in building a brighter future for the economy. 

If President Biden wants to envision himself boasting about his administration overseeing robust economic growth during his 2023 State of the Union address, then he needs to use every tool at his disposal in the year ahead to empower the entrepreneurs and businesses who create jobs and provide vital services to communities across the U.S.


He can start by ending his predecessor’s disastrous trade policies and lifting the tariffs that are holding back our recovery.


Ann Brunett is the chief operating officer of The Mitchell Group. Brunett and her husband, Bill Fisch, have owned and operated Mitchell Fabrics for almost 21 years. Their family has been in the fabric business for over 60 years. You can find Mitchell Fabric on Twitter @FauxLeathers.

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