The top US trade negotiator vowed on October 4 to ease some Trump-era tariffs on Chinese goods, and pressured the Chinese regime for “clear” talks to end Beijing’s unfair trade practices.
In recent decades, Beijing has poured billions of state subsidies into targeted industries such as steel, solar and agriculture, leading to the closure of US factories and “zero-sum dynamic in the world economy”, said US Trade Representative Catherine Tai. Panel organized by the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies on October 4.
“Above all, we must protect our economic interests,” she said at the event, explaining that she “will take all necessary steps to protect ourselves against the waves of damage caused over the years through unfair competition.”
Tai said his office has comprehensively reviewed the United States’ “phase one” trade deal with China last year during the Trump administration. He is expected to have a telephone call with his Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, to discuss China’s performance.
She said Washington would initiate a “targeted tariff exclusion process” to exempt some Chinese imports from punitive US tariffs, with possible additional exclusion procedures in the future.
While Tai declined to say whether China had met its commitments under the deal, he added that “most importantly, we have to raise with China.”
The phase one trade deal signed during the Trump administration requires China to buy $200 billion in additional US goods and services during the two-year period of 2020 and 2021. An analysis of Chinese trade data by the Peterson Institute for International Economics shows that China met about 58 percent of its purchase commitments in 2020 and 69 percent by August 2021.
The deal, which halted the escalation of a trade war that imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods from both countries, gave the Chinese regime an opportunity to improve protections for some US intellectual property and market access for US agricultural biotechnology and financials. Also invoked. service firm.
Acknowledging the role of the trade deal in stabilizing the market, it shared objections about the agreement, saying it did not address China’s state-centric and non-trade practices. Tai, however, said she would not rule out imposing new tariffs to force China to make good on its promise.
business abuse history
US trade relations with China have traditionally focused on gaining market access to China, but that approach clashed with realities in the communist country “that are prompting us to open our eyes today,” she said.
Since the Chinese regime joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2001, the United States has maintained through three successive generations of high-level strategic dialogues with Beijing that Beijing adheres to WTO rules. . But China’s follow-through was “inconsistent and impossible to enforce,” said Tai, who was involved in some of the 27 WTO dispute settlement cases against China.
“Even when China changed the specific practices that we challenged, it did not change the underlying policies, and meaningful reforms by China remained elusive,” she said.
Along with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Tai believes disengagement with China is not a “realistic outcome in the context of our global economy”. Instead, Washington will take the path of “sustainable coexistence” with Beijing, she said.
“Our aim is not to stir up trade tensions with China,” she said, defining the administration’s goal as “re-coupling,” or to trade with China but without falling into dependence.
“China is a participant in the global economy, and it is with whom we have unresolved issues. I don’t think there is any way to address those issues without a direct dialogue with China and a direct dialogue with China.
He added that the United States will continue to support the WTO, but will also need to “stay agile” and “think outside the box about how we can be more effective in addressing the concerns we are trying to address.” Struggling. China on trade.”
The administration is also considering incentives to encourage companies to “buy Americans up and down the supply chain” and, at the same time, collaborate with like-minded allies to shape the rules of fair trade.
The United States will not pursue “phase two” talks with China on deep structural issues, such as heavy subsidies to critical industries skewing global markets, as Beijing is “doubling down on its authoritarian state-centric approach,” Senior administration officials said. A press call on 3 October
“We believe that China cannot change easily, and we have to devise a strategy that treats China the way we want to,” one of the officials said.
‘work in progress’
Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a public policy think tank, said Tai’s speech fell short of expectations.
“I would have loved to see him say, we’re going to give the Chinese two months on stage a commitment, and after that, forget it. We’re not going to waste his time anymore,” he told The Epoch Times. .
The Chinese are masters of the “rope-a-dope”, he said, referring to a tactic devised by the great American boxer Muhammad Ali, which allows an opponent to throw himself out.
“There’s a level of urgency here that has to be faced,” Atkinson said. “The longer the Chinese keep going on this, the more relative advantage they will accrue on us.”
Tai’s remarks, according to Atkinson, indicate that the administration will “focus more on limiting the harm of unfair Chinese policies, not …
Claude Barfield, a former adviser to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said Tai danced around the details, which he said were still “too much” the administration’s trade policy . work in progress.”
“It was a well delivered speech, but I don’t think she’s progressed far enough,” Barfield told The Epoch Times. “It shows that the administration is still making up its mind about what to do.”
The Biden administration is trying to separate its policies from those of President Donald Trump, but so far it has been largely implemented by the Trump administration, he said. For example, Tai did not commit to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade agreement from which Trump withdrew the United States, Barfield noted.
He said the Biden administration is also unlikely to cut steel and aluminum tariffs due to far-reaching pushback from trade unions.
Meanwhile, according to Barfield, Tai faces major hurdles ahead in trying to curb the list of trade abuses that have been exposed from Beijing.
As the WTO decides by consensus, Beijing could veto the new rules Washington wants to move to keep the regime under control, he said.
Working with colleagues is also likely to come with its own challenges.
During the panel, Tai avoided questions about how she would enforce China’s procurement commitments with the United States and its impact on allies, noting that Beijing has canceled its barley imports from Australia. because it increased those purchases from the United States.
Barfield said, neither would it be possible to “go with a really strong retaliation policy” to some European countries—namely France and Germany.
“I don’t think it’s in the cards,” he said. “The administration is implicating itself by saying that it will actually work with allies in the context of China. Good luck with him.”
Emel Akan contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times