With the US and China planning to meet, what impact has the Biden presidency had on trade relations?

Wed 10 Mar 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

us china

The US and China are preparing for their first high level meeting since Joe Biden became US President, with Alaska touted as a location for talks between representatives from the Biden and Xi Jinping administrations.

The FT reports that one option being considered is for Secretary of State Anthony Blinkin and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to meet Chinese counterparts Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi.

Held to account

Biden has continued with former President Donald Trump’s tough stance on China, saying the US will hold it to account over “abuses” such as the persecution of Uighur people and the crackdown on democracy protests in Hong Kong.

However, upcoming talks could present an opportunity to reset a volatile but pivotal relationship, according to the South China Morning Post.

Presidents Biden and Xi have known each other for over a decade and have already spoken by phone.

Most important relationship

Secretary Blinken has described the US-China relationship as “probably the most important in the world”.

However, President Biden has indicated that he won’t do away with the tariffs and export restrictions introduced against China by his predecessor Trump.

CNBC reports that Biden will look to review the existing US-China agreement first before developing a “coherent strategy” with traditional allies in Europe and Asia.

Tech wars

Technology has long been a bone of contention between the two countries, with the US increasingly concerned about Chinese state-backed competition.

Trump sought to protect the US technology sector by requiring US firms to attain an export licence to sell to Chinese companies and Nikkei Asia reports that Biden may continue this policy.

Friends in the east

Biden also views alliances with other major Pacific and Asian nations as an important strand of his China policy and is set to virtually meet leaders of Japan, Australia and India in the first ever quadrilateral summit between the nations, the FT reports.

The so called ‘Quad’ will look to increase their co-operation in an effort to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.