The US-China trade relationship during the Biden Administration

Trade agreements International trade United States of America China

The United States and China signed the Phase One Trade Agreement in January 2020. The agreement came into force a month later and brought a halt to an 18-month trade war. China has failed to reach the purchase targets set in the agreement, but it remains unclear what that could mean for the future of the trading relationship and the trade deal. In late January the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, stated that the Biden Administration was reviewing the Sino-US relationship, including the trade deal. Based on the statements of several senior members of the Biden Administration, however, it seems clear that the deal will not be abandoned. The administration is also expected to take a similar approach to the US-China trade relationship that was established during the Trump Administration.

Key points:

  • The Biden Administration’s approach to trade with China is unlikely to be significantly different to that of his predecessor. Tariffs and other measures that encourage systemic change within China look set to continue.
  • While the US-China Phase One trade deal is under review, the Biden Administration is unlikely to significantly alter it.
  • China is not expected to meet the import targets set in the trade deal, but US officials appear to be satisfied with the progress that Beijing has made under the agreement.
  • Statements from several senior members of the Biden Administration also suggest that the process of economic decoupling from China is likely to continue in some form.
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