As he undertakes a thorough review of Trump’s China policies, President Biden is expected to formulate a China strategy that puts American interests first and strengthens US competitiveness in the global market. While he maintains that his administration will take a different path than his predecessor, there is no doubt that heated competition is on the horizon – and TikTok may find itself at the forefront of the battle.
Author: Derek Chuah
Boasting bipartisan support and a track record of effective work in US-China relations, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai shows unique promise for repairing trade relations that have bottomed at all time lows. Given her support in Washington and emphasis on cooperation over competition, Tai’s confirmation may mark a turning point in US foreign policy on China.
At first viewed as an olive branch amidst a spiraling Sino-Australian trade war, the now finalized Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is unlikely to ease mounting tensions. The untested dispute settlement mechanisms within the deal and shallow provisions for reducing tariffs bode poorly for Sino-Australian relations and point to no end in sight for 2020’s series of new economic tariffs and sanctions.
China is considering a new series of free trade agreements to rebalance trade objectives with its national interests. Two of the largest agreements in history, the RCEP and TPP11, may not only help China expand its economic footprint, but also act as a backdoor should old trade relationships fall apart.
While the pandemic reveals the dangers of overreliance on a single nation’s production facilities, Washington is calling on American MNCs to shift supply chains away from China. However, the economic relationship between the world’s top two economic powers is complex and a rushed decoupling could sink the global economy to unprecedented depths. Instead, both nations should carefully consider how to effectively diversify the risk of economic overdependence while continuing to maintain healthy trade relations.
China introduced the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative to foster a Chinese-driven international trade initiative focused on regional economic collaboration. While the West may be concerned about the geopolitical undertone of OBOR, certain Western policies are instead spurring global participation in the initiative. Italy and Iran are two such examples, with restrictive economic policies from the West driving them to seek alternative sources of funding.