Biden still weighing China tariff options

STORY: U.S. President Joe Biden is still considering whether to cut Trump-era tariffs on imports from China, as a way to throttle back on inflation.

That's according to the White House on Tuesday, and comes amid a rise in calls from industry to keep the tariffs in place

There's been weeks of deliberations within the administration.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to provide a timeline for Biden's decision, after she was asked whether Biden would wait until after speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

That planned call has yet to be scheduled.

"I don't have a timeline for you on that. The President's (Joe Biden) team is continuing to look at our options on how to move forward. As you know, the President (Joe Biden) and President Xi had a conversation back in March and we continue to leave all communication lines open, from the President on down."

More than 400 requests to keep tariffs in place on Chinese goods had been submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative's office as of late Tuesday.

Among them, a committee of 24 labor unions that requested tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump on Chinese imports worth $370 billion to continue.

Biden, who has described himself as the most pro-labor president ever, heavily relied on unions to power his Democratic Party primary and general election wins in 2020.

If he substantially removes the tariffs, he would be turning his back on that key constituency.

Sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters while Biden might choose to remove some tariffs, he is also considering an investigation into China's industrial subsidies, and efforts to dominate critical sectors like semiconductors.

A probe would take up to a year to conduct and could lead to a new round of tariffs.

But the sources said that Biden can claim that they would be more strategically focused than current tariffs on goods like cotton sweaters and home internet routers.