The White House expects to keep in place tariffs on China left by the Trump administration though it will evaluate what is appropriate going forward, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an interview.
"Tariffs work," Yellen told CNBC on Thursday. "We'll look at the moment with the tariffs that were, you know, put in place by the Trump Administration. We expect China to adhere to the commitments that were made and we'll evaluate going forward what we think is appropriate."
Yellen's stance was in line with what President Joe Biden said in an interview with the New York Times in December. Then, president-elect, Biden said that he's not planning to reverse his predecessor's tariffs on Chinese goods imported into the United States as quickly as he plans to reverse other Trump-era policies.
Much of the legacy action against China which Biden inherited has to do with the Trump administration's near two-year trade war and tariffs on Beijing, which according to the Washington-based Brookings Institute amounted to USD 46 billion in penalties paid mostly by US companies themselves.
Yellen said the White House was being deliberate in its review of existing policies on China because of the administration's own concerns that went beyond trade.
"There is a range of issues where we see unfair practices," she said. "It's not just trading but in some cases forced technology transfer, subsidies to high technology in Industries. There are security concerns and we want to make sure that we do address these and China abides by its international obligations in these areas. I think it's important."
Aside from the trade war, the Trump administration had targeted China's tech giant Huawei, which it accused of spying on the United States and of stealing US technology.
The Commerce Department under Trump also accused popular Chinese video streaming app TikTok of illegally sharing with its government data on its American users, and tried unsuccessfully to force the US arm of that business to be sold to an American company.
The alleged mistreatment by China of its Uighur Muslim minorities is also something the previous administration had stood up against - a stance that seems to be shared by the current White House.