US President Joe Biden assured Tuesday that inflation was his “biggest national priority”, at a time when rising prices are weighing on American households and on his popularity.
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However, he said some of the “roots of inflation” were “out of (his) control”, citing the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine. “These two main contributors […] are global in nature. This is why we are witnessing historic inflation in countries around the world,” he also said.
April figures released on Wednesday
Inflation figures for April will be released on Wednesday. Economists expect a slowdown compared to March. Joe Biden recalled that in March, 60% of inflation was due to rising prices at the pump.
If the president does not control the war in Ukraine and the pandemic, he hammered that he could act on other fronts.
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“There are things we can do, we can tackle what we need to do, starting with the Federal Reserve (Fed), which plays a huge role in fighting inflation in our country,” he said. he declared.
He thus urged the Senate “to confirm without delay the nominations of “highly qualified candidates” that he has proposed to lead the Fed. Joe Biden, however, took care to specify that there was no question of interfering in the decisions of the institution. “They are independent,” he assured.
Towards an end to customs duties on Chinese products?
He also recalled that his administration was examining the possibility of lifting the customs duties on Chinese products which had been imposed by his predecessor Donald Trump in 2018 and which represent additional costs for American companies which cannot source from other countries.
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In total, the equivalent of 350 billion dollars of annual imports from the Asian giant are affected by these customs tariffs. These surcharges are due to expire on July 6 and the services of the Trade Representative announced last week that they had launched a consultation to modify or even eliminate them in a context of unprecedented inflation since the beginning of the 1980s.
Finally, asked about the duration of this inflationary pressure, Joe Biden quoted economists: most expect prices to moderate this year, others believe that it could last until next year. “I can’t predict it,” he said, sounding cautious after long claiming high inflation was “temporary.”