The United States and China will soon hold their first trade talks since President Joe Biden took office. The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reports this based on insiders.
US trade envoy Katherine Tai will speak with Deputy Prime Minister Liu He of China about the trade deal the two countries signed in early 2020.
Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump mainly opted for challenging confrontations in 2018 and 2019 to force China to make more concessions in bilateral trade. He imposed additional import tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese merchandise, to which the People’s Republic responded with similar countermeasures.
That trade war ended with a partial trade deal signed by Trump and Liu in January 2020. They agreed that China would buy an extra 200 billion worth of American goods, including agricultural products. In return, the US abandoned new criminal tariffs and lowered specific import tariffs.
China would prefer all trade barriers from Trump’s era to be lifted, but Tai and other members of the Biden government said this was rather unlikely. In the first trade talks since August, Tai mainly wants to hear from China how much of the promise to import extra from the US has been fulfilled. Due to the corona pandemic, the Chinese are behind schedule.
Trade policy is a less urgent problem in Chinese-American relations under Biden than under his predecessor. Tensions over human rights violations, the status of Taiwan and conflicts in the South China Sea are becoming more prominent. Tai recently indicated that her team has yet to begin a comprehensive review of China’s trade policy.