New U.S.-Chinese trade plan starves industry in detail

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File photo: U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on May 12, 2021 in Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S. Pete Malovich / Reuters via Pool

October 5, 2021

By David Lawder and Andrea Shalal

Washington (Reuters) – US Trade Representative Katherine Tai waited eight months for a “top-down” trade policy review with China, after which some US industries and experts negotiated and he complained lack of detailed schedule planning.

Announced his plans on Monday, President Joe Biden’s trade official of Thailand has met with Chinese officials over the breach of the terms of former President Donald Trump’s “Phase 1” trade deal. Tariffs on Chinese imports.

“She intends to reconnect with China, which is good,” said Mary Lovely, a trade economist at Syracuse University, who attended a Thai speech in Washington. “But his general plan seems to be ‘I’m going to have a conversation.’

Thailand will leave most of Trump’s controversial tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods intact when it begins talks with its counterpart, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. It raises US concerns about China’s industrial subsidies, but does not present plans to fight Beijing’s policies, which the United States says will undermine free trade.

What happens next “depends on how the conversation goes,” said Thailand, a former Houseways and Means Commission Supreme Trade Attorney, who has vowed to focus Biden’s trade policy on workers.

She has been generous with Beijing’s criticism in this regard, accusing the Chinese Communist government of “continuing to shape the economy in accordance with the will of the country and harming the interests of working people here in the United States and around the world.”

Thailand’s address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank was endorsed by Democrats, unions and trade officials in the former Trump administration.

“What you are seeing today is further evidence that there is a strong bipartisan concern about the direction of economic relations with China,” said the development of the original “Section 301” investigation that led to the US tariffs. Former USTR CEO Stephen Bourne helped Chinese goods under Trump.

Worry about the new tariffs

But the industry, which has suffered billions of dollars in US tariffs on Chinese imports for more than three years, wanted more details on which products could benefit from tariff relief.

Instead, Monday’s speech extends concerns over the launch of new tariff measures after Thailand said it would continue to investigate “Section 301” as an option.

The US-China Business Council said it was concerned the tariffs would be permanent in the absence of a clear roadmap. The National Foreign Trade Council has called for a “strong” tariff exemption process to bring some relief to companies affected by the US-China trade war.

David French, Executive Vice President of the National Retail Federation, said:

Mr Thailand said he has a separate formal “phase 2” with Beijing on structural issues such as China’s large-scale subsidies to state-owned enterprises due to “dislike” for the use of the label. the Trump administration. He said he would refrain from planning negotiations.

How these talks develop depends in part on “how strong we have with China and how much we have to take our own steps to protect our interests.” Mr Thai said.

The United States continued a regular high-level economic dialogue with China for more than a decade until 2017, but Beijing’s policies have remained largely unchanged. The Trump administration’s Phase 1 deal was heralded as groundbreaking, but Beijing falls far short of its promise to buy American goods.

The Thai discourse “hasn’t given us new goals or new tools,” said Derexizers, a Chinese scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

“You say you need a worker-centered trade policy, but it’s detrimental to the United States, so the Chinese are no longer allowed to behave this way, but we’ll talk about it,” Scissors said. . paddy field. “When did it work? “

(Report by David Lawder, Andrea Shalal, Michael Martina, edited by Heather Timmons & Simon Cameron-Moore)


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