How would the hypothetical Biden administration untangle the last four years of whimsical trade and foreign policy regarding China that hasn't fundamentally changed anything?
I've speculated that they would hit the reset button and start over, but we don't need to speculate; that's what his top advisers are now saying.
One of Biden's top foreign policy adviser, Tony Blinken, spoke to the Chamber of Commerce and said Biden will reset our relations because Trump's trade war has made China strategically stronger, not weaker, and they're not even buying what Trump is selling.
“Trying to fully decouple, as some have suggested, from China .... is unrealistic and ultimately counter-productive,” Blinken said. “It would be a mistake.” [...]
Blinken said the trade deal had been “a debacle” since it did not address the systemic issues between the world’s two largest economies, and China was not even meeting the targets for increased purchases agreed under the limited deal.
“Right now, by every key metric, China’s strategic position in stronger and America’s strategic position is weaker,” Blinken told the online event, adding that Biden would focus on rebuilding U.S. competitiveness to better compete with China.
“The so-called Phase 1 deal doesn’t address ... the systemic issues that are truly a problem,” he said, adding that Trump’s trade war against China hit U.S. farmers and manufacturers.
“Even on its own very limited basis, China is not making good not on the commitments that have been made,” he added.
Even if you're someone who believes free trade has done more harm than good, your best bet is to vote for Joe Biden because you may have noticed that Trump hasn't changed the game or at least not in the way he said he would. The existence of a global pandemic complicates matters, but our trade deficit for 2020 could be higher than ever if the past several months are any indication.
Trump's trade war has not created or protected jobs but it has cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars that virtually everyone reading this has paid in stealth taxes collected before goods reach the shelf at your local stores.
Because the trade war has been waged through vague means and with vague goals, it has primarily benefited a small group of connected cronies in the donor class who benefited from temporary increases in the price of their commodity stocks but never passed the windfall down to workers.
I firmly believe that if Trump is reelected, his trade war will escalate and expand dramatically. He'll pick more fights not just with China, but also with Mexico, Canada, and the European Union. Fear of the economic consequences during an election year is the only thing that has held him back from whipsawing between extreme positions on trade the way he did in 2018 and 2019. And none of this will benefit average workers, but it will cost everyone money.
The Chamber of Commerce has opposed Trump's trade war from the beginning.