WASHINGTON – Biden administration officials have tried to present a tougher line on China in its first weeks in office, reflecting the ruling government as an economic and security challenge for the United States, compared to the Trump administration A much more strategic and calculative approach is required. .
He has also tried to send a message: While the administration will be associated with many familiar faces of the Obama administration, China’s policy will not come as it did a decade ago.
These initial efforts have not hidden a major challenge before President Biden in trying to devise a strategy to deal with China at a time when any relationship with Beijing is considered completely toxic in Washington. Political advisors, including Republican lawmakers, have already begun investigating the statements of Mr. Biden’s advisors, which President Donald J. Trump’s punishments are set to be withdrawn, including tariffs and restrictions for export technology.
Ted Cruz is a Republican senator from Texas Held a hold On the confirmation of Gina Raymondo, Mr. Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce delayed a vote on her confirmation, to explicitly commit to putting China’s telecommunications company Huawei on a national security blacklist. Some Republican lawmakers pick Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Mr. Biden, for the United Nations ambassador to give a speech at the Confucian Institute, some organizations disseminate Chinese propaganda, and paint a rosy picture of China’s activities in Africa Has criticized.
Senator Charles E. of Iowa Several Republicans, including Grasley, also made statements last week that criticizing a move by the Biden administration to withdraw a rule proposed during the Trump administration would require universities to disclose their financial ties to Confucian institutions, organizations Establishment to teach Chinese language and culture in American schools.
“The Biden administration is going to do this for a very short period of time in relation to anything that is giving China a break,” said Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute and former US trade negotiator.
Mr. Trump’s supporters have credited him with taking a more aggressive stance than his predecessors ruling in China, including many rare policy tools. This includes imposing major tariffs on Chinese goods, limiting Beijing’s access to sensitive US technology exports, banning Chinese authorities and companies on human rights violations, and securing economic concessions from China under trade agreements.
But Mr. Trump’s critics, including many from the Biden administration, say his argument about executive orders and other actions was inconsistent and critical, and often more symbolic than effective.
Even when Mr. Trump issued harsh punishments on some fronts, he also extended a lifeline for Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, delaying sanctions related to human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region and its trade Publicly flattering Chinese President Xi Jinping, seeking a settlement. Many of the actions Mr. Trump took against China were left unfinished, or plagued with flaws.
According to a report published Wednesday by consulting firm Rhodium Group and the US Chamber of Commerce China Center, their policies may have eroded US competition in some areas. The report said that Mr. Trump said that “US-China trade was subject to a 25 percent tariff type,” including an annual loss of $ 190 billion in US economic output by 2025, adding that Mr. Trump said the cost from economic “decompiling” Has decreased. Applied 250 billion dollars of Chinese goods.
Rhodium Group founding partner Daniel Rosen said the Biden administration needs to consider more than politics or ideology when China implements policy, including carefully weighing the costs of its approach to industry.
He said that politics is clearly here at this time, in which no one is in leadership or aspiring for leadership, who wants to be strict on China. “We will not serve American interests if we do not consider commercial interests and national security interests at the same time.”
The Biden administration has argued that by being more strategic in addressing China, it will ultimately be more effective than the Trump administration. This has led to an ambitious task as it not only sees China as unfair trade practice but also develops a national strategy that helps improve the US economic situation.
Speaking at the Atlantic Council in late January, National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan said, investing in emerging as well as tackling issues like economic and racial inequality to the United States for the first time “revived the fundamental foundations of our democracy Was required to do “. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and clean energy.
Mr. Biden has also emphasized the importance of working with partners and international institutions to adopt a strict global stance, so companies do not tighten US regulations by shutting down their operations.
Mr. Biden made his first call to Mr. Xi on February 10, in which he spoke about the preservation of an independent and open Indo-Pacific and shared concerns about Beijing’s economic and human rights practices, including those of a White House accordingly.
In a town hall-style forum broadcast Tuesday night by CNN, Mr. Biden, who has known Mr. Xi well from meetings during the Obama administration, said that he had taken a stand on human rights and other issues during his two-hour call Took a strict line. .
“There will be consequences for China, and he knows that,” Mr. Biden said. “What I am doing is clarifying that we are, in fact, going to continue our role as spokespersons of human rights in the United Nations and others – other agencies, that influence their attitude.”
Mr. Biden has started operating his cabinet with officials with deep experience with China. Katherine Tai, a Biden administration nominee for trade representative, was in charge of lawsuits against China at the World Trade Organization during the Obama administration, and has promised to take a tight line on enforcing US trade rules.
Mr. Biden’s top foreign policy advisers have also expressed critical views about China’s practices, although many see the possibility of cooperation on issues such as the coronavirus epidemic and climate change. In which “Asia czar” Secretary of State Antony J. of the National Security Council. Blinken, Mr. Sullivan and Kurt Campbell.
Ms. Raymondo, who is also named Secretary of Commerce, will also have scope for economic relations with China, particularly related to technology. While there were harsh words for China during her confirmation hearing, her refusal to commit to placing Huawei on a government blacklist drew criticism from Republican lawmakers such as Mr. Cruz.
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, who is expected to play a pivotal role in relations with China, took a hard line at his confirmation hearing last month, which uses America’s “full array” of tools to combat this illegal, unfair and abusive I swore to do Can practice. She He has also criticized China’s practices of stealing intellectual property and subsidizing state-owned enterprises, but said he does not regard Mr. Trump’s tariffs as a “proper focus” of trade policy.
The new administration has given some concrete details about how it will implement its strategy, including whether it will implement executive orders related to China, such as Mr. Trump’s new restrictions on investment in Chinese companies. With regard to military and sanctions. On Chinese-owned apps such as TikTok, WeChat and Alipay. Instead, the administration has said it will conduct a comprehensive review of Mr. Trump’s tariffs, export controls and other restrictions before making a decision.
Another uncertainty is how Mr. Biden and his team will handle Mr. Trump’s initial trade deal with China, noting that Beijing is falling short of its promise to buy hundreds of billions of dollars in American products. The administration may face the option of using the deal’s enforcement mechanism – including consulting and overcharging for Chinese products – or ending the agreement altogether.
Scott Kennedy, senior adviser on Chinese trade and economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Biden administration had clarified a large toolbox of foreign policy goals and measures to tackle it, but it was not yet thought that the strategy How to merge And strategy. “
Mr. Kennedy said that on American competition with China, “a much larger dialogue is needed.” “Are they going to be ready to join that conversation and do that in-depth analysis and try something new?” Or are they going to fear political backlash and pull their punches? “
Mr. Biden’s plan to engage more closely with US allies to pressure China may also come in handy.
In an interview in January, shortly before he stepped down, Robert Trumpizer, Mr. Trump’s top trade official, signed a European agreement recently signed with China in the European Union against the wishes of the Biden administration, as “evidence First piece of. ”Such multilateral cooperation would be difficult.
Ms Cutler said that Chinese officials are already trying to “divide and conquer” with American allies like New Zealand and South Korea.
China has emerged from the early stages of the epidemic leading to factories and businesses in the United States and Europe where coronoviruses disrupt the economy. While Chinese leaders, led by Mr. Trump, are trying to reestablish relations with Washington, they have continued to make harsh statements at times.
In an interview with CBS News on February 7, Mr. Biden stated that the two countries “do not need a conflict. But there is going to be intense competition.”
“I’m not going to do the way Trump did,” Mr. Biden said. “We are going to focus on international rules of the road.”
Alan Rappaport Contributed to reporting.