On Tuesday, The United States Trade Representative (USTR) released the annual trade policy agenda after pressure to articulate China’s trade policy and respond to China’s state-led nonmarket practices.
The report highlighted concerns regarding the U.S.’s existing tools and China’s nonmarket practices that hurt the U.S.
The U.S. is fully aware of China’s “harmful trade and economic abuses” in the report. As a result, it is “taking steps to build supply chain resilience that will protect American workers and consumers from the harms.”
It also notes that “lack of protections for workers, a weak environmental regime, and anti-competitive subsidies are the hallmarks of China’s artificial comparative advantage. It is an advantage that puts others out of business and violates any notion of fair competition.”
According to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, USTR emphasized its “laser-focus” on friendly nations as a critical component of its strategy. However, the agency provided few details on the specific measures of its realigned China policy.
There are no new details on the administration’s plan to launch a broad economic program for Asia-Pacific. The new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which President Biden announced in October, is considered a counterweight agreement to China and fills the gap left by the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. USTR said it would release additional details for the scheme in “the near future.”
Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers on Feb. 22 mentioned in its letter to the Biden administration that “The United States will be at a disadvantage unless it moves decisively and comprehensively.”
According to an analysis by Chad Bown, a senior fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington-based think tank, China failed to meet its pledges to purchase an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. products and services under a bilateral trade agreement in early 2020 called the Phase One. China only bought 57% of the U.S. goods and services it committed to purchasing over 2020 and 2021. The Biden administration has kept most of the levies in place.
In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative on Feb. 23, Katherine Tai, Republican House Ways and Means Committee member, urged the USTR to “lead an ambitious, forward-looking strategy to advance free and fair trade and combat unfair industrial policies and trade practices in China and throughout the IndoPacific.”
The USTR said, “In many ways, China’s integration into the global trading system has highlighted weaknesses in the current system—and the urgent need for reform.”