Free Trade

In Convention Speech, Mike Pence Said Joe Biden Will Repeal Trump's Tariffs. If Only That Were True.

Unfortunately, Biden has carefully avoided committing to changing much of anything about Trump's trade policies.


As he capped off the third night of the Republican National Convention, Vice President Mike Pence may have briefly given voters hope that the trade war with China could soon come to an end.

Discussing China in his convention speech, Pence claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden "wants to repeal all the tariffs that are leveling the playing field for American workers."

Don't get your hopes up. No matter who wins November's general election, a wind-down of the import taxes that President Donald Trump imposed on Chinese-made goods is unlikely to be a priority.

Biden has carefully avoided committing to doing much of anything about Trump's tariffs if he wins. Biden does indeed have a long track record in supporting lower barriers to trade—as a member of the Senate, for example, he supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, which substantially reduced tariffs and boosted American jobs by making trade freer. But as the contemporary Democratic Party steered him leftward, he backed away from that stance on the campaign trail this year.

Most recently, Biden's campaign walked back some imprecise comments in which the candidate appeared to endorse ending Trump's tariffs. The Biden campaign has also published a trade policy platform that includes such questionable ideas as a mandatory "Buy American" provision that would increase what the federal government has to pay when it makes purchases. The platform also parrots some of the Trump administration's misguided talking points about America's supposed dependence on imported medical goods.

So there's no sign that Pence's accusation that Biden would lift Trump's tariffs on China is true. What's more worrying, though, is that Pence seems to believe those tariffs are "leveling the playing field for American workers."

Really? American manufacturing dipped into a recession last year—even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck—and a major culprit was those same tariffs (along with tariffs the Trump administration has imposed on imported steel and aluminum). Tariffs are nothing more than taxes, and the Trump administration's tariffs have raised taxes on American consumers and businesses by an estimated $57 billion annually.

Trump touted those tariffs as necessary pain for future gain, but the benefits haven't arrived. The limited trade deal Trump struck with China late last year—a deal that did not result in the lifting of any tariffs—was supposed to boost Chinese purchases of American agricultural goods, manufacturing supplies, and energy. But data tracked by the Peterson Institute for International Economics shows that China is not coming close to meeting those obligations. When asked about it, Trump has mostly shrugged off any concerns.

Trump's tariffs hiked costs for American businesses and consumers, and the trade war's benefits appear to be illusory. Biden absolutely should want to scrap Trump's trade barriers. Unfortunately, Pence is wrong to promise that he will.

NEXT: Trump Authorizes Deployment of 2,000 National Guard Troops to Kenosha

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. [ STAY AT HOME & WORK AT HOME ] Start making money this time… Spend more time with your family&relative by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $65o to $7oo a month. I’ve started this job and earn handsome income and now i am exchange it with you, so you can do it too. You can check it out here……..USA Online Working  

  2. Nearly every study of nafta shows job losses to Mexico and more manufacturing moved there after it was signed. The only ones that don’t show it are here and at Cato. And for some reason your strange link to

    It was a major factor in ghw bush’s loss by drawing votes to Perot.

    1. The science is settled. All the studies agree with me (except the ones that don’t, but we can ignore those for unstated reasons)

      1. Fuck off Jeff.

        1. I make up to $90 an hour on-line from my home. My story is that I give up operating at walmart to paintings on-line and with a bit strive I with out problem supply in spherical $40h to $86h…KFc someone turned into top to me by way of manner of sharing this hyperlink with me, so now i’m hoping i ought to help a person else accessible through sharing this hyperlink…,,,,,,,,,► Click here

      2. Stop with the sock puppets, Bailey. You’re not fooling anyone.

      3. ¦A¦M¦A¦Z¦I¦N¦G¦ ¦J¦O¦B¦S¦
        ???????? #???? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????? ???????????????? ???????????????????? ???????????? ????????????????,???? ???????????????? ???????????? ???????????? ????????????e
        Start your work at home right now. Spend more time with your family and earn. Start bringing 85$/hr just on a laptop. Very easy way to make your life happy and earning continuously.last week my check was 24551$.pop over here this site…….COPY HERE====??Go to link

  3. No mention of grass and assex? Those are the hot button issues.

  4. I make up to $90 an hour on-line from my home. My story is that I give up operating at walmart to paintings on-line and with a bit strive I with out problem supply in spherical $40h to $86h… someone turned into top to me by way of manner of sharing this hyperlink with me, so now i’m hoping i ought to help a person else accessible through sharing this hyperlink… strive it, you HERE? Read More

    1. Help! I think this spambot is having a stroke!

  5. Google easily work and google pays me every hour and every week just $5K to $8K for doing online work from home. I am a universty student and I work n my part time just 2 to 3 hours a day easily from home. Now every one can earn extra cash for doing online home system and make a good life by just open this website and follow instructions on this page…Click here.

  6. Drumpf’s tariffs have been absolutely disastrous for the net worth of Charles Koch, the self-made billionaire who funds Mr. Koch is currently just barely in the top 20 richest people on the planet — when he clearly deserves to be in the top 10.

    If he can get through the next few months, though, I guarantee our benefactor will return to prosperity under President Biden.


    1. If your benefactor read Pravda back in the 70’s, he would recognize that today’s Reason that he is generously funding has morphed into yesterday’s Pravda.


      1. I know, right? The only Real Libertarian(tm) magazine is one that supports my worldview 100%, because I am the One True Libertarian after all.

        1. Just because this place is your life doesn’t mean you need to personally defend it from literally every criticism, and you especially don’t need to do it like a teenage giril like you did there.

          1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…Mic after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

            Here’s what I do………..>> Click here

  7. It does not matter what Biden says today.
    By the time the election is over, he will have forgotten.
    Besides, it will not be ol’ Joe who does anything, it will be Kween Kamala.

  8. Yeah, both teams have now become horrible when it comes to trade. Yet one more reason not to support either one.

    1. So you’re going to stop slurping The Democrats so the rest of us can talk about libertarianism without you shitting up threads stanning for them? No of course not you’re going to lie about people defending R’s so you HAVE TO mouth fuck Biden.

      1. Of course he’s not but he will pretend to ignore you while he breaks out an obvious sock puppet to insult you

  9. Where’s the vast economic harm from the tariffs? I was promised vast economic harm! Instead, almost no one can see any effects at all.

    It’s almost like pundits exaggerate and dramatize everything dishonestly.

  10. ●▬▬▬▬PART TIME FOR USA JOBS▬▬▬▬▬●I make $100h while I’m traveling the world. Last week I worked by my laptop in Rome, Monti Carlo and finally Paris…This week I’m back in the USA. All I do are easy tasks from this one cool site. check it out,…USA JOBES

  11. Thanks admin for giving such valuable information through your article . Your article is much more similar to word unscramble tool because it also provides a lot of knowledge of vocabulary new words with its meanings.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.