On February 6, 2020, China revealed that it would cut tariffs on $75 billion of goods by half to fulfill its end of its bargain after recently signing a trade agreement with Washington.
Starting on February 14, China will reduce tariffs on some American goods from 10 percent to 5 percent. Tariffs on other items will be lowered from 5% to 2.5%, according to China’s Ministry of Finance.
The tariffs were slapped on in September and December in the midst of a protracted trade scuffle between the two superpowers.
The U.S. government has already rolled out plans to scale back tariffs on certain Chinese imports that were flagged during the trade war. However, most tariffs will stay in place.
Beginning on February 14, 2020, the U.S. will reduce tariffs on approximately $120 billion in Chinese goods — which include electronics and apparel — from 15 percent to 7.5 percent according to the U.S. trade representative’s office. This also complies with a pledge made under the U.S.-China trade agreement that was signed on January 15.
The tariff cuts come at a time where there are doubts about Beijing’s willingness to comply with the phase-one trade deal, in which China promised to increase its purchases of American goods and services by $200 billion during the timespan of two year.
Despite such concerns, the decision to reduce tariffs shows some willingness on the part of Chinese leadership to carry out the deal that effectively ended the two-year trade conflict between the two countries.
In a statement that came alongside Thursday’s announcement, the Finance Ministry said the decision was aimed at alleviating “economic and trade frictions and expand economic and trade cooperation” between the two countries. “We hope to work with the United States towards the ultimate elimination of all increased tariffs,” it added.
This is a good first step, however the Trump administration must continue pressuring China. China’s ambitions go beyond economic transactions.
Given its authoritarian nature, China is seeking to expand its reach through trade deals and migration. The Trump administration will need to maintain economic pressure and create migration policies that keep Communist Party agents from doing harm within the American border.
Democrats Introduce Expanded Background Check Legislation
Democrats are going to implement a background check which targets “extremism.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and California Congressman Mike Thompson brought forward legislation on March 2, 2021 that aims to broaden the federal background check system on firearms sales, according to a report by The Hill.
Under The Background Check Expansion Act, gun sales and purchases between all unlicensed sellers and buyers would be subject to a mandatory background check. The background checks would not be applicable for law enforcement officers, lending out firearms for the purpose of hunting, temporary transfers for self-defense, or family members gifting a firearm.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and 43 Senate Democrats have co-sponsored this bill. Thompson, who is the chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, reintroduced this legislation in the U.S. House
“For years, the bipartisan House-passed background checks bill languished in the Senate under Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Now, with Senate Democrats in the Majority, we have the opportunity to act on this overwhelmingly popular, lifesaving legislation to protect American communities,” Schumer declared in a press release.
According to a CBS News report, President Joe Biden has repeatedly called on Congress to pass stiffer gun control laws. This gun control bill will not pass so easily given how it will need 10 Republican senators to vote in favor of it.
Against the backdrop of the January 6 storming of the Capitol, such a background check will likely feature provisions that target so-called “extremists.” The ruling class has routinely lumped average gun owners with domestic extremists and will most certainly use recent events to justify encroachments on people’s right to bear arms.
Biden is a veteran of the gun control movement, as evidenced by his sponsorship of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. With Democrats in control of all branches of the federal government, they will certainly move to pass gun control. However, their success is not guaranteed due to moderate Democrats like Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Joe Manchin not being completely receptive to radical gun control that could alienate them from their more right-wing constituents.
Nevertheless, the Left has shown that it’s willing to act regardless of the political context. Keeping this in mind, gun owners must be ready to beat back any kind of gun control coming from D.C. Such fights will allow the Right to rebuild its forces and make a splash in the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential race.
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