The Biden administration began outlining its new China trade policy on Monday, largely building on the China trade policy from former President Trump’s administration.
United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai explained the new policy during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Monday. Tai said the Biden administration would “discuss with China its performance under the Phase One Agreement,” a Trump administration policy requiring China to purchase $200 billion of additional U.S. goods and services over a two year period.
Tai said the U.S. would maintain the economically damaging tariffs put in place by the Trump administration but would begin a “targeted tariff exclusion process” for some Chinese imports that were disproportionately punitive to the United States.
Tai added that the Biden administration had “serious concerns” about China’s “state-centered” and “non-market” trade practices that were not addressed in the Phase One Agreement. Further, the Biden administration will use the “full range of tools” to combat China’s “harmful policies and practices.”
According to Tai, the Biden administration wants to facilitate the ability for market economies and democracies to succeed globally.
Robert Atkinson, president of public policy think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, told The Epoch Times that Tai’s speech “fell somewhat short of expectations.”
“I would have liked to see her say, we’re going to give the Chinese two months on the stage one commitments, and after that, forget it. We’re not going to waste our time anymore,” he said. “There’s a level of urgency here that has to be confronted. The longer the Chinese would go on with this, the more relative advantage they get over us.”
The Biden administration’s decision to maintain the tariffs shows that “this administration is learning some of the same lessons we learned over the course of four years,” Kelly Ann Shaw, a senior trade adviser in the Trump administration, told the Wall Street Journal. “Tariffs are a blunt instrument but seem to be the only tool we have.”