Biden's trade negotiator to slam China for failing to live up to deal

Biden’s top trade negotiator will slam China for failing to live up to a deal signed under Trump

  • The Biden administration will signal no thaw in trade stance on China on Monday
  • In a speech, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is expected to accuse China of failing to meet the terms of a deal it signed last year
  • And she will say tariffs will not be lifted as she calls for fresh talks with Beijing
  • An official said: ‘China continues to pursue its unfair and coercive practices’

President Joe Biden’s top trade negotiator will demand fresh talks with China on Monday and accuse it of failing to keep promises made in a deal struck with President Donald Trump last year.

Senior administration officials said Katherine Tai will seek a virtual meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to discuss the deal, while setting out the practices that have ‘hurt’ U.S. workers, industries and supply chains. 

‘For too long, China’s lack of adherence to global trading norms has undercut the prosperity of Americans and others around the world,’ she will say, according to prepared excerpts from a speech she will make at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think-tank, on Monday morning.

‘Unlike the past, this administration will engage from a position of strength because we are investing in our workers and our infrastructure.’

President Biden’s trade representative, Katherine Tai, will demand fresh talks with China and accuse it of failing to keep promises made in a deal struck with President Trump last year

The Biden administration will accuse China of failing to abide by the terms of a trade deal struck by Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House last year

The Biden administration has kept up scrutiny of China’s trade practices and condemned its human rights record 

The Biden administration has kept up Trump’s close scrutiny of China’s growing economic dominance and regional territorial ambitions.

A reminder of that came shortly before Tai’s speech, when Taiwan said Beijing had flown 52 aircraft into its airspace – the single largest mission of its kind to date in an escalation of tensions around the South China Sea island. 

Tai confirmed in August that the Biden administration was reviewing its trade policy with China.

On Monday, she is expected to call for a new strategy ‘that aligns with the priorities of our workers and businesses,’ an official told reporters on a conference call. 

‘First, our objective is not to escalate trade tensions with China or double down on the previous administration’s flawed strategy,’ said the official.

‘Second, at the same time, where China continues to pursue its unfair and coercive practices, we will use the full range of our tools to help ensure that the U.S.-China trade relationship works for American workers, our industries, and our supply chains.’  

The moves follow frustration that China had failed to meet commitments it made last year under a ‘phase one’ trade deal.  

Excerpts from Tai’s remarks show she will raise commitments made by China that were intended to benefit American industries, including agriculture.

The phase one deal was unveiled at the White House at the start of last year – just as a coronavirus outbreak was becoming a pandemic.  

China agreed to boost purchases of U.S. farm and manufactured goods, energy and services by $200 billion above 2017 levels over two years.

34 J-16 fighters (file image) were among 52 Chinese planes flown into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Monday in the single-largest incursion to date

The deal, which halted escalation of a trade war that heaped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods from both countries, also called for China to improve protections for some U.S. intellectual property and market access for American agricultural biotechnology and financial services firms.

The coronavirus pandemic hit Chinese purchases of U.S. goods hard, and they have been running at only 62% of the target, according to estimates by Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

U.S. President Joe Biden kept in place the tariffs imposed by Trump as Tai conducted a top-to-bottom review of China trade policy. Biden officials have said little about their strategy, focusing instead this year on rebuilding ties with U.S. allies to present a more united front to Beijing.

A system of exclusions from the tariffs of up to 25% on Chinese imports expired at end of 2020, except for some medical imports needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. officials said Tai would relaunch a new, ‘targeted’ tariff exclusion process and would ‘keep open the potential for additional exclusion processes in the future.’ 

Plans for a ‘phase two’ deal  have been abandoned, said an official, because Beijing is ‘doubling down on on its authoritarian state-centric approach.

Tai will run through a history of China’s failure to live up to its trade and reform commitments over the past two decades, from its accession to the World Trade Organization to the Phase 1 deal, the officials said.

‘We recognize that China simply may not change, and that we have to have a strategy that deals with China as it is, rather than as we might wish it to be,’ one of the officials said. 

China has attracted global condemnation for its crackdown on democracy campaigns in Hong Kong, its abuse of ethnic and religious minorities, including accusations of ‘genocide; in Xinjiang against Muslim Uighurs, and its aggression in disputed areas of the South China Sea.

It has also repeatedly been accused covering up the early stages of its coronavirus outbreak. 

The U.S., U.K., and Australia announced a new security and technology pact last month which is widely seen as trying to counter China’s growing regional influence. 

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