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Joe Biden to work with allies to stop China's 'economic abuses'

Robert Delaney in Washington
·3 min read

US President Joe Biden's administration has started a review of his predecessor's trade war with China and other actions taken against Beijing, and will work with allies to stop the country's "economic abuses on many fronts".

Pledging "an approach of patience", White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that Biden "will take a multilateral approach to engaging with China, and that includes evaluating the tariffs currently in place, and he wants to ensure that we take any steps in coordination with our allies and partners, and with Democrats and Republicans in Congress".

The trade war that former president Donald Trump started with China in 2018 stopped escalating a year ago, when he and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He signed a phase one agreement that committed Beijing to specific targets for the country's purchases of US goods and services.

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Biden's intentions with respect to the punitive tariffs has become a key focus on the US-China front as an indication of how the new leadership in Washington will handle the bilateral relationship.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the press briefing room of the White House in Washington on Monday. Photographer: UPI/Bloomberg alt=Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the press briefing room of the White House in Washington on Monday. Photographer: UPI/Bloomberg

An analysis of Chinese customs data by the Peterson Institute of International Economics last week showed that China fulfilled only 58 per cent of the phase one targets, raising questions about whether the agreement was ever feasible even without the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House is also running inter-agency reviews on other US-China matters, including an executive order by Trump that barred US investors from making new purchases in three Chinese telecommunications carriers beginning January 11 and gave them until November to sell their existing holdings.

Deliberations over the ban on investment in companies including China Mobile and China Telecom is being undertaken by the State and Treasury departments, "and a number of others", Psaki told White House reporters.

"I don't want to get ahead of any review, but certainly we're taking an overarching look at all of our all of it," she said. "The president is committed to stopping China's economic abuses on many fronts, and the most effective way to do that is through working in concert with our allies and partners to do exactly that."

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2021 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.