Raimondo: Opposing Chip Spending Is What China Wants — ‘Could Be’ Time to Lift China Tariffs, Which Won’t Have ‘Huge Impact’ on Inflation

On Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo argued that Republicans opposing spending on semiconductor legislation after Democrats unveiled a reconciliation deal, “is exactly what China would want.” And that it “could be” time to lift tariffs on China, a move that is “not going to have a huge impact on overall inflation. What it will do, potentially, is lower the prices on certain consumer goods that we currently import from China.”

Raimondo stated, “It’s politics and it’s unfortunate. You shouldn’t play politics with our country’s national security. Frankly, they are playing into China’s hand. This is exactly what China would want. It’s frustrating. Republicans with whom I spoke yesterday, they were solid yes votes, are getting afraid. And they may be a no vote today. Having said that, the vote will be today. It will be a very strong vote. It will be a bipartisan vote. And I think everyone realizes that we need to do it. We need to do it to strengthen our economy. We need to do it to compete and outcompete with China. And we talk about inflation, the best way to make sure we don’t have long-term inflation is to increase supply. Increasing the supply of chips will, in the long run, bring down prices. So, I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’m surprised. I hope more Republicans do the right thing for the country and vote yes. But I also feel confident that we have the votes and we’re going to get this to the president’s desk in the next day or two.”

Later, host Andrea Mitchell asked, “With such a big focus on inflation, of course, the biggest economic problem right now, is it time to remove those tariffs on China?”

Raimondo responded, “It could be. The president is taking a very hard look at that and is studying the pros and the cons. I will say, I don’t — even if the president were to lift tariffs, it’s not going to have a huge impact on overall inflation. What it will do, potentially, is lower the prices on certain consumer goods that we currently import from China. And there is merit to doing that. And that’s why the president is taking a hard look at it and we are advising him that it’s worth looking at, because honestly, we have to do everything we can right now to bring down inflation. And so, the president’s always asking us, what more can I do? And I know he’s open to doing anything that he thinks will help.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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