On China, Biden channels Trump
Joe Biden is often described as the anti-Trump. Biden reversed what Trump did as much as possible. But Chinese trade, important as it is, seems to be an exception. This fact became clear during recent trade talks between US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. On this issue, the current administration has decided to take inspiration roughly from Trump.
Although the commentary and many members of Tai’s political party sharply criticized Trump for taking such a hard line with China as he did, especially imposing a wide range of rather high tariffs, Katherine Tai did not. not shown the slightest desire to soften the position of this government or to make any concessions. When Liu He asked as a gesture of goodwill that Tai reduce the tariffs Trump imposed in 2019, she flatly refused.
Far from deviating from its president’s predecessor, it has built its position around the two-phase deal that the Trump White House struck with Beijing in January 2020 through the first phase of the Trump deal. Contrary to Beijing’s promises, China, she argued, has not sufficiently reduced copyright and patent infringements or ended the practice of requiring Americans doing business in this country to ‘they share technology and trade secrets with a Chinese partner. Beijing’s recent invitation to US financial giant Blackrock to build and sell investment products in China was clearly seen as insufficient to fulfill another of Beijing’s pledges to open the country to US finance. And although Chinese imports of U.S. goods and services have risen sharply over the past two years, the numbers are well below targets set in the deal.
If anything, Tai was even more shrill than Trump had been. She pledged to step up the pressure on China, vowing to use “every tool” available to change what she described as Beijing’s “state-centric authoritarian approach to commerce”. Tai threatened another “Section 301 investigation” of the type Trump used to launch tariffs in 2019. She accelerated the process by citing China’s subsidies for state-owned enterprises and its industrial policies in general, issues that the Trump deal anticipates for a later date under the second phase of the deal.
The only difference from Trump’s approach was Tai’s promise that the United States would seek âalliesâ and âagreementsâ with international organizations and other nations to increase the pressure on China. Rather than a substantive difference, it was little more than a topic of discussion. Washington has practically ruled out World Trade Organization (WTO) rules applicable to the issue of trade with China. Tai didn’t even mention the G-7 or the G-20. She pointed to the recent US-EU agreement on competition between Boeing and Airbus, but if America really wants a united front with Europe against China, that would lift Trump’s tariffs on the steel and aluminum on European producers. These remain in place. The United States has also done little to secure a trade deal with the newly separated UK, nor has it approached the successor to the now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (PATPP). The move is all the more remarkable given that last month China applied to be admitted to the deal.
Since Trump’s policies have caused such dismay, many think tanks, universities and undoubtedly analysts in the Office of the United States Trade Representative have come up with proposals that could resolve the tense situation in a way that threatens the economy. world order less than Trump’s approach seemed to do. to do. These include ways for the United States to exert pressure on China in a less direct way by seeking help from international organizations. Other proposals have suggested methods to reduce tariffs and implement more gradual approaches than those in the January 2020 agreement. Blanche Biden has decided to remain as demanding and determined as the Trump White House was and in the same way. Whatever this administration’s clear desires to part ways with Trump, his manners and his policies, they do not extend to the issue of trade with China.