Steel industry protectionism beyond typical election-year rhetoric

President Biden has announced plans to triple the rates of tariffs on steel and aluminum from China amid pressure from labor unions concerned about the survival of the U.S. steel industry amid Chinese competition.

Allen Carlson is an associate professor of government at Cornell University, and an expert on Chinese foreign policy. Carlson says it’s crucial to note that President Biden’s tariff proposal is less about economics and more related to U.S. domestic politics.

“Presidential election years tend to stir things up in the U.S.-China relationship, even when the two countries are on relatively good terms with each other. 2024 is not such a time.

“In the past Beijing has tended to take shifts in U.S. policy during election years with a grain of salt. But this year may be different as Xi’s China is in a stronger position than it was before. More importantly, this election cycle promises to be more turbulent than any that has come before it. And China policy will inevitably get drawn into the maelstrom.”

For interviews contact Adam Allington, cell: 231-620-7180,

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