The Biden administration will allow some products imported from China to once again bypass stiff tariffs imposed by President Donald J. Trump, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said on Wednesday.
The trade office said it would reinstate certain tariff exclusions that had expired at the end of 2020, allowing some companies to avoid the taxes on Chinese products that could not be obtained elsewhere.
Mr. Trump hit China with tariffs on $360 billion worth of goods in the midst of a trade war between Washington and Beijing. Amid business outcry, the Trump administration allowed certain products to avoid the tariffs. But Mr. Trump declined to extend those exclusions at the end of his term, a decision that angered many business leaders.
The decision announced on Wednesday reinstates 352 of the 549 eligible exemptions, keeping them in place through the end of 2022.
The Biden administration has come under pressure from lawmakers and the business community to restart the exclusion process, saying the tariffs were hurting American companies and consumers and putting the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage. Key business leaders have expressed frustration with President Biden’s China trade policy and urged his administration to drop the Chinese tariffs and provide more clarity about economic engagement between the world’s biggest economies.
Thousands of companies asked for waivers after Mr. Trump’s tariffs, which ranged from 7.5 percent to 25 percent. The Trump administration granted a limited number of exclusions, allowing companies that imported electric motors microscopes, fork lifts and more to avoid the levies.
The 2020 expiration of the waivers meant that companies had to again start paying a tax to import a variety of goods from China.