The Biden administration released a report on Monday, March 2, which continues with the assertion that the U.S. will be hard on China and not go soft on Trade negotiations.
The report states they are “committed to using all available tools to take on the range of China’s unfair trade practices that continue to harm U.S. workers and businesses.” It assures that U.S. citizens do not want products made by forced labor available for purchase in their stores. The plan will “consider all options to combat forced labor and enhance corporate accountability in the global market.”
The 2021 Trade Agenda and 2020 annual report emphasize Biden’s “Build Back Better” vision, which “will create millions of good-paying jobs and support America’s working families by tackling four national challenges: building a stronger industrial and innovation base, so the future is made in America; building sustainable infrastructure and a clean energy future; building a stronger, caring economy; and, advancing racial equity across the board.”
The report states that “the Biden Administration recognizes that China’s coercive and unfair trade practices harm American workers, threaten our technological edge, weaken our supply chain resiliency, and undermine our national interests. The ongoing comprehensive review of U.S. trade policy toward China is integral to the development of the Administration’s overall China strategy.”
Zero Tolerance for Human Rights Abuses
The report also states that the Biden administration will not tolerate human rights abuses. It says that it will be a top priority “to address the widespread human rights abuses of the Chinese government’s forced labor program that target the Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and elsewhere in the country.” Furthermore, the report emphasizes that the Biden administration will try to make China live up to its trade obligations.
Signing Ceremony Phase One Trade Deal between the US & China
According to the 2019 “Economic and Trade Agreement Between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China: Phase One,” China agreed to expand U.S. purchases by $200 billion above 2017 baseline levels in February 2020 for two years until Dec. 31, 2021.
A recent report by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) highlights an analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PPIIE), which showed that “China fulfilled just 58 percent of its purchasing goals in the first year of the [phase one] deal. Although it beat its targets for pork, corn, cotton, and wheat, it fell behind on soybeans, sorghum, lobster, and other agricultural products. Its purchases of American energy products also fell short, achieving just 40 percent of the 2020 commitment.”
Lu Xiang, a senior fellow of US studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that “the phase one deal was an important sign of goodwill for China to improve the trade balance with the US. But the decline in US supply during the pandemic and [Washington’s] poisonous policies towards China undermined the consultation mechanism and led to difficulties in implementing some of the purchase commitments.” He claimed that “there will be no positive outcome if the US continues with its strategic competition with China.”
After Biden’s trade agenda was released Monday, Biden’s U.S. Trade Representative nominee Katherine Tai wrote in answers to questions from senators that “she would work to fight a range of ‘unfair’ Chinese trade and economic practices and would seek to treat Chinese censorship as a trade barrier.” She said that she was “open to exploring a wide range of options to address our long-standing problems with China’s unfair trade practices, including bilateral talks,” but that she “will not hesitate to act if those talks prove ineffective.” When asked about how she will handle current Chinese tariffs that will be expiring, she said that she would “ensure that those tariffs are appropriately responsive to China’s practices and take into account the impact on U.S. businesses, workers and consumers,” as reported by Reuters.