Biden administration pledges to stand firm against China trade

By: AFP      Published: 02:09 AM, 2 Mar, 2021
Biden administration pledges to stand firm against China trade
Chinese President Xi Jinping and then Vice-President Joe Biden raise their glasses in a toast during a luncheon at the State Department in Washington in 2015. –File Photo

President Joe Biden will use "all available tools" to take on trade practices by China, the US Trade Representative's office pledged Monday.

In addition, Biden's trade team will seek to repair relations with allies and defend US workers, according to the 2021 President's Trade Agenda submitted to Congress.

Tackling the Covid-19 pandemic by securing vaccine supply chains and production is a top priority. The report largely formalizes statements made in recent weeks by Biden and his USTR nominee Katherine Tai, who is awaiting Senate confirmation.

On the high-profile trade spat between Washington and Beijing, the report acknowledged the damage done by "China's coercive and unfair trade practices," which "undermine our national interests." 

"The Biden administration is committed to using all available tools to take on the range of China's unfair trade practices that continue to harm US workers and businesses," the report said. 

It said what it deems China's human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and others will be a "top priority" for Biden's team.

"Americans and consumers around the world do not want products made with forced labour on store shelves, and workers should not be disadvantaged by competing with a state-sponsored regime of systematic repression," the report said.

Restoring frayed relations with allies and trading partners also will be part of Biden's strategy for dealing with Beijing in the effort to "address global market distortions created by industrial overcapacity."

The report said protecting US workers and farmers will be central to the administration's trade policy, fulfilling Biden's campaign promise.