U.S. President Donald Trump, who has widely been considered unorthodox, has described himself as a “tariff man” and unilaterally applied duties on multiple occasions based on his zero-sum view on trade.
When it came to climate change, he made light of the issue and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord in the early days of his presidency.
But with Trump now in the dying days of his presidency, and President-elect Joe Biden waiting in the wings with his own set of planned policies on trade and climate change, Japan needs to think carefully and craft its possible responses.
The Biden administration will likely not raise tariffs unilaterally and will be cautious about additional tariffs based on Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974. There is a possibility that the administration may withhold the tariffs currently being imposed and use them as a bargaining chip in negotiations with China. But there’s an expectation that tariffs that are imposed on U.S. allies for national security reasons based on Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 will be eliminated at an early stage.