The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on US president Joe Biden to end tariffs on imports implemented by his predecessor in order to support the country's economic recovery and ensure global trade benefits American workers and consumers.
Under the leadership of Donald Trump, the US pursued a strongly 'America-first' policy that saw a range of duties added to imports from around the world, including steel, aluminum, solar panels and electrical goods.
However, despite hopes that a change of administration in Washington would lead to a liberalization of trade policy, many of these tariffs remain in place.
In its concluding remarks following an official visit by IMF staff, the organization stated that while the Biden government has emphasized the importance of a 'worker-centric' trade agenda, this is only likely to succeed if obstacles to free trade are removed.
Such moves would support US workers and help to create more and better jobs, especially when placed alongside proposed efforts to increase productivity, labor supply, and the competitiveness of US producers.
The IMF report said it is therefore a "significant concern" that many of the barriers to trade that were introduced over the four years of the Trump administration remain in place.
At the same time, it also cautioned against plans to strengthen 'Buy American' requirements put in place during the Trump years and efforts to prioritize US producers for public procurements.
"These policies should be reconsidered," the report said. "Doing so would underscore the US traditional commitment to an open, stable, and transparent international trade regime."
This view was backed by John Murphy, senior vice-president for international policy at the US Chamber of Commerce. He told Forbes: "The IMF's advice is excellent: To strengthen our recovery, the US should untangle the trade barriers raised in recent years and avoid raising new ones."
He added that in a trading environment already struggling with issues such as materials shortages and port delays, the government should be looking to cut red tape, not create more.