U.S. Needs to Reduce Dependence on Imported Chips, Key Supplies, Says Commerce Secretary
By Paulo Trevisani
The U.S. government needs to support local industries and reduce
its dependence on import of key items such as chips and steel to
mitigate the risk of supply shortages and inflation, Commerce
Secretary Gina Raimondo said Friday.
"We are undergoing a review to see whether it makes sense to
provide some tariff relief or exclusion" to some products, Ms.
Raimondo said in a pre-recorded panel shown at the Sabew conference
in New York.
She said the Federal Reserve's monetary policy is a "much more
powerful tool" to deal with inflation, but her office is also
trying to address the issue.
Ms. Raimondo said reducing tariffs is a delicate balancing act,
as many of them have been imposed to protect American companies
from unfairly low-priced imports. She addressed tariffs on foreign
steel and aluminum in particular.
"The reason why these [tariffs] were created is because
countries, particularly China, have flooded the United States with
cheap steel at depressed prices which is bad for [American]
workers," she said.
"You can't have a strong economy if you allow your steel
industry to wither," she said.
But tariff reduction could happen when needed, she said. Earlier
this week, the Biden administration lifted tariffs on Ukrainian
steel for one year as a way to help the country in the war with
Ms. Raimondo called for the creation of a government agency in
charge of monitoring supply chains and preventing shortages.
Ms. Raimondo also said that an investigation on imported solar
panels will continue in accordance with current regulations. The
probe has been criticized for potentially hurting a key source of
renewable energy at a time of rising fuel prices.
"The reason why we're in this mess is because we don't have
enough domestic production," she said, adding that if import
tariffs are imposed as a result, they would likely be in the 10% to
She also said the U.S. may need to subsidize domestic production
of microchips to reduce its dependence on imports of a key part of
everything, from home appliances to cars to defense equipment.
"I don't love subsidizing companies, these are profitable
companies, but we need them," she said. "It is in our national
Write to Paulo Trevisani at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 13, 2022 10:38 ET (14:38 GMT)
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