New U.S. China trade plan leaves industry hungry for specifics

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WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Businesshala) – After waiting eight months to review US Trade Representative Catherine Tai’s “top-down” policy of trade with China, some US industry and experts lacked dialogue or specifics on a timely plan. But were complaining. .

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Revealing his plan on Monday, Tai, President Joe Biden’s top trade official, called the process of negotiating with Chinese officials and giving exclusions over former President Donald Trump’s failure to meet the terms of a “Phase 1” trade deal. promised to revive. Duty on sugar imports.

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“She’s going to reconnect with China and that’s a good thing,” said Mary Lovely, a Syracuse University business economist who attended Tai’s speech in Washington. “But his whole plan seems to be, ‘I’m going to negotiate.'”

Tai will drop most of Trump’s controversial tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as she begins discussions with her counterpart, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. She would raise US concerns about China’s industrial subsidies, but did not outline specific plans to deal with Beijing’s policies, which the US believes undermine free trade.

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What happens next “depends on how negotiations go,” said Tai, a former top business lawyer on the House Ways and Means Committee, who has promised to center Biden trade policy around workers.

She was nonchalant in her criticism of Beijing on this front, accusing the Communist Party of China government of “shaping its economy according to the will of the state, hurting the interests of workers here in America and around the world”.

Tai’s speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank received support from Democratic lawmakers, unions as well as a former Trump administration business official.

Stephen Vaughan, a former top USTR official under Trump who helped develop the original “Section 301” investigation that led to the development of US tariffs, said, “What you saw today is more evidence that with China There is strong bipartisan concern about the direction of our economic relationship.” on Chinese goods.

new tariff concerns

However, industries that have faced more than three years of US tariffs on Chinese imports costing billions of dollars were hoping for details on which products could get tariff relief.

Instead, Monday’s speech dropped concerns that Tai could initiate new tariff action by saying that she would put up a further “Section 301” investigation as an option.

The US-China Business Council said it feared the tariffs could be permanent, given the lack of a clear road map. The National Foreign Trade Council called for a “robust” tariff exclusion process to provide some relief to companies affected by the US-China trade war.

“Today’s long-awaited announcement proves the Biden administration’s trade strategy on China at its lowest, and will cause unnecessary damage to the US economy and retail supply chains,” said David French, senior vice president of the National Retail Federation.

Tai said he was “against” using the Trump administration’s label, citing Trump’s plans for a separate formal “Phase 2” dialogue with Beijing on structural issues such as China’s heavy subsidies to state enterprises. Will refrain from

“The extent of those discussions depends on “how much traction we get with China and the extent to which we have to take our own measures to protect our interests,” Tai said.

The United States continued to hold regular high-level economic dialogue with China for more than a decade until 2017, leading to little change in Beijing’s policies. The Trump administration’s first phase of the deal was declared a success, but Beijing has fallen short of commitments to buy American goods.

“Tai’s speech did not give us new goals or new tools,” said China scholar Derek Scissors of the American Enterprise Institute.

“You say we have a labor-focused trade policy, and we can’t tolerate China’s behavior like this because it hurts America, but we’re going to talk to them about it,” Scissors he said. “When did it work?”

Reporting by David Lauder, Andrea Schallal and Michael Martina; Editing by Heather Timmons and Simon Cameron-Moore

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