U.S. will use all steps necessary to defend its economic interests against China, top trade official says

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  • US Trade Representative Ambassador Catherine Tai in a speech on Monday condemned China’s unfair trade practices and vowed to protect US economic interests.
  • Addressing an audience at the Washington-based think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, Tai said, “We do not aim to provoke trade tensions with China.”

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WASHINGTON – US Trade Representative Catherine Tai in a speech on Monday condemned China’s unfair trade practices and vowed to protect US economic interests, saying the Biden administration was trying to push back the world’s second-largest economy by allies. Will rally.

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Addressing an audience at the Washington-based think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, Tai said, “We do not aim to provoke trade tensions with China.”

Tai, the country’s top trade official, said, “But above all, we must protect our economic interests and that means taking all necessary steps to protect ourselves from the waves of damage that have raged through the years through unfair competition.” “

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During his address, Tai confirmed a CNBC report last week that the Biden administration does not believe Beijing has followed through on a Phase I trade deal.

According to the deal, which was brokered under then-President Donald Trump and signed in January 2020, Beijing agreed to buy at least $200 billion more in US goods and services in 2020 and 2021 than in 2017. . However, according to US export data compiled by the Peterson Institute for International EconomicsChina has only reached 62% of that target.

The deal is set to expire at the end of 2021.

Tai told CNBC’s Kayla Taushe in an exclusive interview on Monday that she looked forward to leading talks with the Chinese on behalf of the Biden administration, despite Beijing’s little appetite for improving bilateral ties.

“Honestly I don’t know if I can trust Beijing until I talk to Beijing,” Tai said of China’s shortcomings on the first phase deal. “We don’t know what we can achieve until we try,” she said.

Last week, Tai met with EU leaders at the inaugural meeting of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council, along with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The TTC meeting in Pittsburgh to discuss ways to deepen cooperation on trade and technology signals Western ambition to compete more effectively with China.

“America is most effective when we work with our allies,” Raimondo told CNBC ahead of the US-EU meeting. “If we really want to slow China’s rate of innovation, we need to work with Europe.”

Similarly, Tai said in his address on Monday that the Biden administration would work closely with US allies and like-minded partners “towards building truly fair, international trade that enables healthy competition.”

Tai said, “We need to be prepared to deploy all the tools and explore developments of new ones, including cooperation with other economies and countries. And we need to set a new course to change the trajectory of our bilateral trade dynamic.” should do.”

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