US trade chief set to unveil Biden's China trade strategy

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai has said that the US faces "very large challenges" in its trade relationship with China.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai has said that the US faces "very large challenges" in its trade relationship with China.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai will unveil the Joe Biden administration's long-awaited strategy for the troubled US-China trade relationship in a speech on Monday (Oct 4) at a Washington think-tank, her office said.

Ms Tai will deliver remarks on her review of China trade policy at the Centre for Strategic Studies in Washington and participate in a question-and-answer session, the USTR office said in a statement on Thursday.

Since taking office in March, Ms Tai has been conducting a top-to-bottom review of Washington's China trade policy.

US President Joe Biden has kept in place tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports imposed by former president Donald Trump, but his administration has so far revealed little about how it will address what it calls China's non-market trade and subsidy practices.

Ms Tai's remarks at 10am local time (10pm Singapore time) on Monday will mark the start of the final three months of the "phase one" US-China trade deal that Mr Trump struck with Beijing at the start of 2019, easing a tariff war between the world's two largest economies.

It called for China to boost purchases of US farm and manufactured goods, energy and services by US$200 billion (S$272 billion) over the two years to the end of 2021 compared with 2017 levels.

Biden administration officials say China has not met its phase one trade deal commitments and they intend to hold it to its international trade commitments.

Dr Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, estimates that China's purchases of US exports till August are running at about 62 per cent of the phase one targets, based on US export data.

Tensions between the two economic powers have also grown as the United States has restricted Chinese companies' access to US sensitive technologies.

Ms Tai has said the US faces "very large challenges" in its trade relationship with China that require engagement across the Biden administration. She has asked Congress for new trade law tools to counteract massive Chinese state subsidies for high-technology sectors.

The Biden administration has sought to rally US allies to join Washington in confronting what it says are abusive trade policies by Beijing. US and European Union officials met on Wednesday in Pittsburgh to deepen transatlantic cooperation on technology regulation, protecting sensitive technologies and addressing challenges posed by "non-market economies" - a reference to China.