What to expect…
President Joe Biden recently had a call with China leader Xi Jinping to discuss U.S. and China relations. A White House statement said Biden raised concerns about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair economic practices.” Per AP News, Biden also pressed Xi on Hong Kong and human rights abuses against Uighur and ethnic minorities in the western Xinjiang province, as well as its actions toward Taiwan.
Biden said he would pursue policies targeting China’s “abusive practices,” such as theft of intellectual property, dumping products, illegal subsidies to corporations and forcing tech transfers from U.S. companies to Chinese counterparts. In order to make progress, China needs to make major reforms. The last significant development was when Beijing promised in the “Phase One” agreement of January 2020 to buy more soybeans and other U.S. exports and to stop pressuring companies to hand over technology. China has fallen short on those promises and has only purchased about 55% of what was agreed.
It does not appear that the U.S. – China trade war will go away anytime soon. Section 301 and Section 323 will remain in 2021. At this time, President Biden plans to leave the tariffs in place while his administration reviews the trade policy. He is still awaiting confirmation for his nominees for the U.S. Trade Representative and Commerce Secretary to be vetted. Both will be key roles in helping shape the China trade policy. Biden also wants to work with allies in Europe and Asia before making decision on tariffs.