Quietly in several places?
The Biden admin has kept Trump admin policies to the surprise of many….
China looms BIG over American manufacturing and Trade….
And American consumer prices…..
And that country does NOT stop for pandemics or conflicts in the Middle East…
Biden aides say the stakes are too high to rush into a new stance or to lock in specific elements of the trade approach they inherited from Trump, such as the tariff waivers. The White House also wants to make sure it enjoys allied support before unveiling any bold new plan.
The administration has cultivated labor union support by promising a “worker-centered” trade policy. But business groups complain that officials have yet to articulate their plans for the trade deal Trump signed with China in early 2020, as well as the unresolved issues left over from that bargain, such as China’s massive state subsidies.
For U.S. companies, this is the fifth year of uncertainty over the contours of the commercial relationship with China. And patience is wearing thin.
“Business needs to plan, and there’s no information to plan on,” said one executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve relationships with the Biden team.
Major corporations such as Otis Elevator, Hamilton Beach Products and Clorox are among those that have suddenly lost their tariff exclusions. The result has been thinner profits, an intensified scramble to find new suppliers outside China, and upward pressure on prices as inflation percolates at its fastest pace in 13 years.
Trump began imposing tariffs on Chinese goods in 2018, following a U.S. investigation that concluded China was using unfair trade practices to acquire American technology. Washington ultimately imposed tariffs of up to 25 percent on roughly $360 billion in annual Chinese imports.
From the outset, U.S. businesses complained that the tariffs increased their costs and made them less competitive. This month more than 30 industry associations urged the administration to jump-start its engagement with China, including by restoring product exclusions and negotiating an end to tariffs imposed by both countries during the recent trade war.
“The tariffs are hurting us, and they are hurting the Chinese,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We encourage each side to take confidence-building measures that would provide the political space to take some tariffs down.”….
“Our domestic renewal comes first,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a recent speech.
Trade was the animating force behind Trump’s China policy, with Robert E. Lighthizer, the chief negotiator, an influential ally as Trump lobbed tariffs and threats at the Chinese.
But under Biden, trade policy has slipped in importance and the focus has shifted from issues of technology transfer and intellectual property to concerns over the use of forced labor in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region.
“Trade is no longer driving the relationship. It’s been pushed to the background,” said Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute and a former U.S. trade negotiator.
Administration officials also have sent conflicting signals. Katherine Tai, who succeeded Lighthizer as U.S. trade representative, has described the tariffs on Chinese imports as “leverage” for future negotiations, while Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen told the New York Times they “hurt American consumers.