Chinese trade practices still worry the United States

U.S. Trade Representative Says Former Administration Policies Will Stay In Place, But Also Pledges To Apply More Pressure

The United States plans to keep the pressure on China to comply with global trade standards.

However, in an Oct. 4 speech, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai gave few details on how she thinks China can be forced to change.

“It is increasingly clear that China’s plans do not include meaningful reforms to address concerns shared by the United States and many other countries,” Tai said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC

“In recent years, Chinese leaders have doubled their state-centric economic model.

Tai reiterated the decision by the administration of US President Joe Biden to continue a phase one trade deal between China and former US President Donald Trump that has seen millions of tonnes of US soybeans and other commodities. move towards China, even though it has acknowledged these steps fail to address the underlying issues that are bothering the United States

“We continue to have serious concerns about China’s state-centric and non-market business practices that were not addressed in the phase one agreement,” said Tai, who participated in a number. number of Trump-era trade negotiations with China.

Tai expects direct talks with his counterpart in China in the coming weeks, but was not sure the Chinese government will negotiate anything on the issues of intellectual property theft, government manipulation of markets and other interventions. state that particularly irritates the United States and most Western countries, including Canada.

She said she intended to work closely with “like-minded” countries to strengthen the strength of the rules-based global trade order.

U.S.-China trade relations have been strained for years, after more than a decade of hope and optimism that China’s membership of the World Trade Organization would lead to trade policies more rule-based and a more liberal political order.

“The path we took didn’t get us there,” Tai said, noting a “zero-sum dynamic where China’s growth and prosperity comes at the expense of workers and economic opportunity here in the United States. and in other democratic economies “.

Instead of greater openness and mutually beneficial integration, Western countries have seen their companies discriminated against in Chinese markets, with their intellectual property being extorted from them in the hope of continued market access and increasing manipulation of the market by the Chinese government.

As it deteriorated already in the last years of former US President Barack Obama’s administration, the relationship turned into a trade war during Trump’s tenure as Chinese government intransigence collided. increasingly hostile rhetoric from the US government and ultimately tariffs on a wide range of Chinese products. The United States has also imposed regulatory and financial constraints on many Chinese companies and has encouraged the ban of Huawei equipment from Western telecommunications systems.

At the same time, China has demonstrated its reluctance to abide by the rules following trade standards by banning certain Australian and Canadian products, including most Canadian canola and pork, due to diplomatic disputes.

Hostage diplomacy that has seen Canadians and other foreign nationals seemingly jailed over diplomatic disputes has also aroused the ire of rule-playing trading nations.

All of this created fertile ground for the seeds of cooperation between the United States, the European Union and other rules-based trading nations like Canada. Tai said recent talks with the EU have seen the two major trading players operate in a less combative manner than in recent years.

Tai said she hoped to see the WTO revived and improved.

She also said the United States will demand compliance with the current Phase 1 provisions, with China not complying with all of them so far. But she seemed to acknowledge that the deal does not address any of the deeper concerns of the United States. Future American demands will involve fundamental questions.

Tai said the Phase 1 agreement and other recent agreements have focused on securing market access and prompting U.S. policymakers to rethink their approach.

“Are we looking for more liberalized trade and just more trade, or are we looking for smarter, more resilient trade?” “

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