Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum

626-376-7460

[email protected]

February 18, 2022

The following editorial re-emphasized the obvious that Trump’s trade war was not productive, and Trump’s Phase-One Trade Agreement did not work. It will not work…So why the Biden Administration is still fixated fighting with China using Trump’s failed approach?

Biden Administration revealed the signature Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in 2021 but there is no implementation plan so there is no impact insight yet. Biden Administration still has not publish their China Strategy and that may explain why Biden is continuing Trump’s trade war with China. The escalating Ukraine Crisis is consuming Biden’s energy and attention span. If, as Biden pronounced today (February 18, 2022) at the White House, “he is convinced that Putin has made up his mind on invading Ukraine in the next few days,” the future of Europe would be very dark for a long time.

So, it would make sense for Biden Administration to deal with China swiftly with a new trade deal. Otherwise, Biden will be boxed at fighting two wars at the same time: a bloody war in Europe and an equally consequential trade war in Asia.

The editorial may be right for calling the COVID-19 pandemic as not a major factor that China failed to honor the purchase of US goods agreed in the Trump-Xi Phase One Trade Agreement. However, the COID-19 pandemic has ravaged the global economy with a broken supply chain and severe inflations. With all kinds of war going on around the globe, the post-pandemic economy recovery is bleak. Then the US mid-term election vote is about eight months away, regional primaries will begin in March, US domestic politics is another must win battleground for Biden.

STH

EDITORIAL: Biden should issue ceasefire in Trump’s trade war

Portland Press Herald, Maine Fri, February 18, 2022, 10:32 AM

Feb. 18—Former President Donald Trump’s trade war with China isn’t going so well. Which raises the question, why is it going on at all?

Designed to even the trade deficit with China and coax manufacturing back to the United States, and informed by the former president’s skewed views on trade, the trade war was one of Trump’s signature initiatives.

It’s not accomplishing either of those goals, however. Instead, the trade war has cost U.S. companies tens of billions of dollars, which are typically passed along to consumers. It has raised production costs in the U.S. and likely reduced manufacturing jobs.

And a deal with China that was hailed by Trump as a major win has been a bust. The agreement, reached in January 2020, required China to purchase at least $502.4 billion in certain American goods, including Maine lobster, over the next two years.

Instead, they bought only a portion of that: $288.8 billion, even less than they did before the trade war.

As one analysis put it, China did not buy any of the additional $200 billion in American exports it promised as the main tenet of the deal. The pandemic, experts say, was not a major factor in the shortfall.

We’re also seeing just who pays for tariffs. The Bangor Daily News reported recently on a family-owned craft wood business in Farmington that is facing $300,000 in import tariffs based on dowels they purchased from China.

The business owners say they could have sourced the dowels domestically if they had known about the tariff — companies are not notified about new laws; it’s up to them to look up new laws in the Federal Register — but it would have been more expensive.

That’s the dilemma facing many American manufacturing companies when it comes to tariffs on Chinese goods. The supply chain is global, and many of these companies rely on intermediate goods from China as part of their production process. In many cases, there’s no domestic alternative, and it’s not easy to get one up and running.

So by initiating a trade war with China, Trump merely made American goods more expensive, forcing companies to increase prices and cut jobs.

The trade war also severed connections between American companies and buyers in China that had been built up over years, if not decades. Even if relations between the two countries improve, those relationships will take time to repair.

The Biden administration should not waste any time in repealing the tariffs, though that does not look likely.

Even though Trump tariffs were widely derided by Democrats in addition to trade experts, Biden does not appear ready to do so until China meets its commitments as part of the deal.

He also appears to be hesitant to appear soft on China.

That’s absurd. The tariffs are hurting American businesses. They’ve already cost consumers $123 billion. At a time when prices are rising, the tariffs are adding to inflation.

The tariffs aren’t forcing China to meet its commitments, and they aren’t a boon for domestic manufacturing.

They’re very much doing the opposite. Biden should cut bait on this ill-advised strategy.

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