US president Joe Biden seeks 'straightforward competition' with China rather than trade wars

Fri 19 Nov 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

A virtual meeting between President Joe Biden and China’s leader Xi Jinping helped ease the tension between the two countries but did not make headway in resolving lingering US-China trade war disputes.

Biden told Xi that it was their responsibility “to ensure that the competition between our countries does not veer into conflict”, rather than “straightforward competition”.

Aljazeera reports Xi made comments about relaxing trade restrictions to help both economies recover from the pandemic more quickly.

'Coexistence'

Calling Biden “my old friend,” Xi compared the two countries with ships that must navigate the ocean without colliding and said they “should respect each other, coexist in peace, and pursue win-win cooperation”.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies remain frosty with Biden continuing with many of the tariffs brought in by his predecessor, president Donald Trump.

However, Trivium China analyst Joe Mazur said the Biden administration approach was “a major departure from Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy”.

Talks to build on

Although the summit saw no substantive policy on key issues such as trade, climate, the pandemic, or arms control emerge, it established a dialogue that can be built on, potentially easing tensions, reports CNN.

While the US recognises that China won’t budge on pain points between the countries, it is looking for areas that might support a limited degree of bilateral cooperation with China while also shoring up its relationships with allies and partners worldwide.

A January US-China Business Council-commissioned study found that the trade war had cost 245,000 US jobs, while a reduction of tariffs on both sides would create 145,000 jobs by 2025.

The report by Oxford Economics predicted that a “significant decoupling” of the countries’ economies would reduce US GDP by $1.6 trillion over the next five years.

Gathering allies

NHK World- Japan reports that the US, EU and Japan are to meet at the WTO conference this month to coordinate their response to practices by China.

They say their talks will address the challenges posed by “non-market policies and practices of third countries”.

Meanwhile US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo has affirmed the US’s planned Indo-Pacific economic framework will be inclusive and flexible, and will not structured like a typical free trade deal, Reuters reports.