The Biden administration will criticise China on Monday for not living up to the trade deal that it signed with the US in the final year of the Trump administration, as it prepares to hold its first trade talks with Beijing.
American officials said Katherine Tai, US trade representative, would soon hold direct talks with Liu He, her Chinese counterpart, to discuss the “phase 1” deal reached in January 2020 and other US trade concerns.
One official said Tai would have “frank” talks about policies that hurt US workers and producers when she talked to Liu “in the coming days”.
Tai will outline the US approach to trade with China in a speech on Monday morning in Washington. While President Joe Biden has confronted China on a range of issues, such as climate change and political repression, he has done very little on trade.
The US officials said Tai would stress that China must follow through on its 2020 deal commitments.
According to excerpts provided ahead of her speech, Tai will say that China’s “lack of adherence to global trading norms has undercut the prosperity of Americans and others around the world”.
Tai will also say that the US would “directly engage with China on its industrial policies”.
China agreed to buy $200bn more of US goods and services than it did in 2017 — before the start of the trade war — over a two-year period until the end of 2021. But according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, it has made only 62 per cent of the expected purchases on a prorated basis.
The Biden administration has voiced frustration that its Chinese counterparts have not been meaningfully engaged in meetings on non-trade issues. But a second official said they hoped trade talks would be more productive.
However, the first official warned that the US was “willing to take steps” if the talks with China did not produce tangible results. “It takes two to tango. We’ll see how China responds to what Ambassador Tai will detail tomorrow. We will adjust accordingly. We do not want to take any options off the table or pre-emptively box ourselves into a set course of action,” she said.
The official added that the US would also consider exempting some goods from tariffs to align trade policy with the priorities Biden has set to help American workers, including moves to strengthen supply chain resilience. But she said the president was “going to continue doing things that work” in sectors such as agriculture that have benefited from the phase 1 deal.
The officials said Biden was not considering a follow-on deal to tackle difficult structural issues. “China is unlikely to make meaningful reforms right now,” said the first official. “We’ll raise concerns on industrial policies, but we are not seeking a phase 2 negotiation.”
Biden has been criticised by several US businesses for not proposing a more concrete trade policy, with some suggesting that his approach was not that different from Trump’s.
In an interview with the Financial Times last week, Tai said the US had been very “deliberative” to “turn the page on impulsivity and reactivity”.
Credit: Source link