US will retain hardline approach to China trade

Document talks about using all tools available to counter ‘coercive’ practices

March 02, 2021 08:35 am | Updated 08:56 am IST

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

The Biden administration’s trade agenda will make pandemic recovery a top priority and focus on the American worker, according to the 2021 President’s Trade Agenda and 2020 Annual Report, an annual document submitted by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to Congress. The administration will push for labour standards in its trade agreements, negotiate environmental standards and address China’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices, the document said.


Impact on workers

“The Biden Administration will review past trade policies for their impacts on, and unintended consequences for, workers,” it said.

“Workers will have a seat at the table as the Biden Administration develops new trade policies that promote equitable economic growth by including strong, enforceable labor standards in trade agreements that protect workers’ rights and increase economic security. The Administration will engage allies to secure commitments to fight forced labor and exploitative labor conditions, and increase transparency and accountability in global supply chains,” the report said.


The Biden administration’s trade priorities will also include negotiating and implementing “strong environmental standards”. It will also seek to promote equitable economic growth through trade.

The impact of trade policy on racial minorities within the U.S. will also be a priority. The new administration is also likely to follow an aggressive agricultural trade policy.

“The trade agenda will seek to expand global market opportunities for American farmers, ranchers, food manufacturers, and fishers and will defend our producers by enforcing global agricultural trade rules,” the report said.

Take on China

China’s “coercive and unfair trade practices harm American workers, threaten our technological edge, weaken our supply chain resiliency, and undermine our national interests”, the report said.


“The ongoing comprehensive review of U.S. trade policy towards China is integral to the development of the Administration’s overall China strategy,” it says, committing to using all tools available to counter practices it calls unfair and harmful to the U.S.

Addressing human rights abuses against the Uighurs and others will be a top priority for the administration, as per the report. It will also collaborate with allies to address the market distortions created by industrial overcapacity issue.

“Key sectors range from steel and aluminum to fiber optics, solar, and other sectors where the Chinese Government has been a key contributor,” the report said.

Reforms at WTO

The U.S. will work with allies to “ implement necessary reforms to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) substantive rules and procedures to address the challenges facing the global trading system, including growing inequality, digital transformation, and impediments to small business trade”, the report said.

“The Administration will work with allies and like-minded trading partners to establish high-standard global rules to govern the digital economy, in line with our shared democratic values. Where gaps exist in international trade rules, the United States will work to address them, including through enhanced cooperation with our partners and allies,” it added.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.