Trade practices: Washington changes tactics against Beijing

Posted 30 March, 2022

"We must recognize the limits of the agreement and turn the page on the old strategy with China," said US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.


The economic independence of the United States rather than pressure on China: the American Trade Representative advocates a change of strategy vis-à-vis the Asian giant, taking note of Washington's inability to obtain fundamental changes in matters of business practices.

“As we continue to keep the door open for discussions with China, including on its Phase 1 commitments (of the bilateral treaty), we must also recognize the limits of the agreement and turn the page on the old strategy. with China, which was to focus on changing its behavior,” Katherine Tai was to declare before the House of Representatives on Wednesday, according to a speech sent to the press on Tuesday evening.

The trade treaty, signed by former President Donald Trump, has been in effect since January 2020.

Before Congress, Ms. Tai will stress that the American strategy must now "go beyond simple pressure" on Beijing to abandon its trade practices deemed unfair.

This strategy must instead include “the vigorous defense of our values ​​and economic interests against the negative impacts of unfair economic policies and practices” of China, she must explain.

When she arrived in the Biden administration in early 2021, Katherine Tai had asked her services to analyze the impact of these practices on American industries and workers as well as on those of United States allies.

"We have seen what happened in the steel sector and the solar panel industry when the mechanisms are too slow to counter China's distortions", she must note, alluding to the difficulties encountered by these sectors.

While China is also targeting critical industries such as high technology, electric cars and semiconductors, Katherine Tai advocates “strategic investments” in the United States to no longer depend on China.

Ms Tai believes that "significant progress" has already been made thanks to the US bailout and the Biden administration's focus on supply chain resilience.

"But to really boost America's competitiveness, we urge Congress to quickly pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act," a bill that will, among other things, make it easier to produce crucial technologies, Katherine Tai must urge, as the House and the Senate have not yet agreed on a common draft text.

Finally, the ambassador intends to reiterate the need to act in concert with the allies of the United States against China.

For a year, the Biden administration has thus endeavored to restore confidence and to re-establish commercial ties with the partners of the United States, putting an end to numerous disputes such as in aeronautics.

Last week, an agreement was reached between London and Washington to remove punitive customs duties on British steel and aluminum.

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