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Biden and Trump share a faith in import tariffs, despite inflation risks

Both candidates' trade plans focus on tariffs on imported Chinese goods even as economists warn they could lead to higher prices

Promising to make things more expensive when consumers already are angry over high prices might seem an unusual political strategy. But it's one that both President Biden and former president Donald Trump are choosing.

Both men, as they vie for a second White House term, say that tariffs on imported Chinese goods are needed to promote domestic manufacturing and to clap back at China's zero-sum trade practices. While economists say that tariffs result in higher prices, both Biden and Trump insist that consumers will be unscathed.

Biden's tariffs on $18 billion in Chinese electric vehicles, batteries and computer chips, announced last month, are likely too small to lift the economy's overall price level, economists said. But Trump's plan for 60 percent tariffs on all $427 billion in goods that China ships to the United States each year would almost certainly reshape trade in ways that consumers would notice.


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