Region/Countries: Asia, China Industry: Multiple Sectors Date: January 2021

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Chinese officials and scholars are predicting an easing of trade restrictions.

For the past four years, under the Trump Administration, there had been escalating tensions between the U.S. and China, with tariffs being pushed to a record high. The trade war has been devastating to both countries, and has had implications for the whole world. Although the China and the U.S. will continue to have a competitive relationship,  Chinese officials and scholars generally view the Biden Administration as rational and pragmatic, creating the possibility of improving China-U.S. trade relations.

On Feb. 2, Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, said in a video meeting with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations that the Trump Administration had followed a mistaken anti-China policy, and he believes that the new administration will establish a more positive relationship with China to benefit both countries. He also said China would, as always, welcome U.S. companies to operate and invest in China. China is ready to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination with the U.S. and is willing to cooperate on safeguarding the security of the global industrial chain and supply chain as well as global economic and financial stability to boost the growth of the two countries and the world economy as well. This is a clear signal that Chinese policy-makers are hoping to promote the development of China-U.S. strategic relations in a constructive direction within bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

Chinese researchers and scholars say trade frictions will continue to exist, with tariffs and regional alliances expected to be the two most important topics of focus moving forward, but that current confrontations will be eased.

  • Tariffs raised under Trump Administration were harmful, with an economic cost was paid by the American people. Although Biden claimed he would not immediately reduce tariffs on Chinese products, and he does not plan to change the Phase I Trade Deal at this moment, it is expected that the burden of tariffs will be reduced through tariff exemptions.
  • China believes the Biden Administration will take the initiative to regain the dominant role of the global order and shape favorable trade rules. The administration is likely to push the U.S. to return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations after China’s recent Central Economic Work Conference clearly stated that China is actively considering joining partnership. In the past several months, China joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and signed the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, which motivates the Biden administration to compete with China for leadership in the region and the world.