U.S. President Joe Biden will soon have been in office for 100 days. Compared with the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s administration, during which the appointment of personnel was chaotic, policies were upended and Congress was criticized, Biden’s new administration is on track. Not only were important personnel matters determined early on, but the administration is moving in quite a clear direction. With Democratic control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the administration can fully promote its policies.
Biden took over a divided America in the midst of an economic recession. Therefore, he is focusing his administration on addressing domestic issues. In addition to his $1.9 trillion rescue plan, Biden is concentrating on pushing his eight-year, $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan. This plan will vigorously promote infrastructure, including improvements in transportation, housing, broadband networks, power grids and clean energy technology. It is the largest investment by the government since the space program in the 1960s.
Biden administration policies have also encouraged the purchase of American goods and strengthened innovation and research and development. In particular, Biden substantially reversed Trump’s stance on green energy by expanding renewable energy industries, primarily through backing electric vehicles, and proactively addressing the issue of climate change. Additionally, to ensure economic security, the Biden administration will review the supply chains of critical industries in two phases. The purpose of this review is not only to remove China from the supply chain, but also to ensure economic stability by supporting U.S. industries and promoting domestic manufacturing.
Although Biden’s short-term rescue plan has been criticized as throwing money at the economy to save it, it is not outside the scope of similar plans during the Trump era. Still, most people definitely believe that Biden’s infrastructure and supply-chain plans will help enhance America’s long-term competitiveness.
The U.S. economy has already begun to recover under the Biden administration’s firm control of the pandemic and generous rescue plan. In the first quarter of this year, the gross domestic product had already returned to pre-pandemic levels, and it’s estimated that this year’s economic growth will be at least 6% — the highest in 70 years. Moreover, it’s estimated that inflation will remain within a controllable range. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 4%, which will be near the 3.5% pre-pandemic level.
Regarding foreign policy, Biden advocates strengthening international participation, as well as repairing relationships and cooperating with allies. Therefore, after he came into office, he immediately announced that the U.S. would rejoin the Paris Agreement and also stopped the process of U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization.
Regarding China policy, in the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance released in March, the U.S. deemed China the only competitor with the comprehensive strength to challenge the U.S. Its future relationship with China is one of America’s greatest challenges. Similar to the thinking of the Trump administration, technology is at the core of U.S.-China competition.
Nevertheless, Biden encourages responding to challenges from China with a comprehensive strategy. By entirely revising Trump’s unilateral approach to confronting China, Biden will actively cooperate with allies. In addition to opening a four-way security dialogue with Japan, Australia and India, Biden is also cooperating with Korea and the European Union to respond to the China threat. In particular, a statement released after the recent U.S.-Japan leadership summit directly opposed China’s activity in the South China Sea, as well as its stance on Xinjiang and Hong Kong. It also established an economic cooperation partnership, revealing America’s ambition.
Regarding its China trade policy, the U.S. will not back down on the short-term punitive tariffs that have been levied on China. It will also keep adding more Chinese companies to its entity list* and will provide incentives to help American companies reduce their dependence on China. In the biggest departure from Trump’s approach, Biden is promoting a systematic detachment from Chinese supply chains and will conduct a supply-chain review of important industries in phases. By gathering together allies, the administration will remove China from the supply chain, creating a resilient American supply chain.
In the future, the U.S. and China will engage in a pattern of confrontation and competition. Still, on certain specific issues such as climate change, the pandemic and nuclear energy, the U.S. will not rule out cooperating with China or allowing its conditional involvement.
In summary, the policies of the Biden administration are roughly in line with his campaign promises. However, it’s worthy of note that, although Biden leans toward liberalism, he must still take into account the views of more conservative Democrats. He also cannot overlook the forces supporting Trump’s anti-globalization stance, and must adopt a more protective stance on trade policy. Based on this, Taiwan should not only actively participate in America’s reorganization of supply chains, but also pay attention to America’s expansion of protective trade measures, such as the impact of anti-dumping measures on Taiwan’s industry. Taiwan should also respond to America’s concerns over the increasing trade surplus between the U.S. and Taiwan.
*Editor’s Note: An entity list is a trade blacklist published by the U.S. Department of Commerce.