Joe Biden has dashed any hope that the transition of power in the White House would lead to a softer approach in the United States’ treatment of China. The future U.S. president may be an even bigger threat to Beijing than President Donald Trump.
The Democratic president-elect made it clear last week in a conversation with The New York Times that he does not intend to make any immediate moves regarding the trade deal. Tariffs on Chinese goods will also remain in effect until further notice.
A few weeks ago, analysts expressed the hope that Biden would soon encourage future talks with Beijing. They speculated that the 25% tariff on roughly half the Chinese exports to the United States would be removed. But Biden doesn’t seem to want to reduce the pressure on Beijing immediately, and prefers to play his cards close to the chest for the time being.
Biden’s arrival threatens China in that he wants to join America’s allies in Europe and Asia. Many of those countries share the United States’ grievances against Beijing. The willingness in many capital cities to join forces, with Biden at the helm, is great.
Acting alone, Trump alienated allies with verbal attacks and trade disputes. After four years of trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific banter with Trump, there is a need for unifying leadership.
It comes as no surprise that Biden is continuing his predecessor’s tough approach to China. Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. have disagreed on many issues in recent years, but they agree that China must be dealt with.
Both sides accuse China of unfair competition by favoring its own national champions and forcing Western companies to give up technology in exchange for access to the still highly lucrative Chinese market.
The People’s Republic of China has undergone spectacular development in recent decades and is fast becoming the largest economy in the world. As a result, the country’s power is noticeably increasing. It is of the utmost importance that the People’s Republic adheres to the international rules of the game and does not abuse its dominant economic position.
The world is better off with free trade, without foul play, and also without sanctions that disrupt trade and ultimately leave everyone poorer.