Joe Biden’s win in the presidential elections has potentially offered hope for some change in the course of the US-China trade war, which has not shown any signs of ending. He is reportedly expected to immediately consult US allies before taking any decision on the future of US tariffs on Chinese goods and will seek to end ‘artificial trade wars’ with Europe.
Chinese experts predicted the outcome could usher in a ‘buffering period’ for the tense relations, and offer an opportunity for breakthroughs in resuming high-level communication and rebuilding mutual strategic trust between the two countries, official Chinese newspaper ‘Global Times’ reported.
Chinese observers also feel the change in US leadership won’t change the overall direction of Washington’s China policy and the US government is expected maintain its current approach towards China to some extent.
“I don’t think the incoming Biden administration will agree on a full-scale decoupling with China,” Da Wei, director of the Center for Strategic and International Security Studies of the University of International Relations in Beijing, told the ‘Global Times’.
As both political parties in the United States now agree on a hard line on Beijing, any initiative by Biden to ease US tariffs may face significant opposition in the US Congress.
Despite being ‘hawkish’ on China, Biden’s presidency could lead to a more rational approach to bilateral trade, wrote analysts at Swiss bank Lombard Odier recently.
Terming President Donald Trump’s January trade deal with China as ‘hollow’, Biden had blamed the tariffs for accelerating the decline in US manufacturing, but he did not commit to either scrapping the pact or withdrawing the tariffs.
“I will use tariffs when they are needed, but the difference between me and Trump is that I will have a strategy—a plan—to use those tariffs to win, not just to fake toughness,” Biden told United Steelworkers in May. “I will put values back at the center of our foreign policy, including how we approach the U.S.-China relationship,” he said in a campaign statement in August.
Observers eagerly wait to see whether Biden will seek to rejoin the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which many experts believed as the best way for the United States to counter Beijing’s economic might before Trump withdrew from it as one of his first official actions. Biden supported the deal as vice president earlier, but said during a Democratic primary debate last year that he would insist on renegotiating ‘pieces’ of the pact.
Biden is expected to be tougher with China than President Obama and seek more realistic solutions on trade.