US Must Be Strategic on China Tariffs, Trade Representative Tai Says

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai discusses the bilateral relations with China, and the Biden administration’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific region. President Joe Biden said he’ll review Trump-era tariffs imposed on imports from China amid growing calls from businesses to remove the levies. Tai speaks from Tokyo with Shery Ahn and Haidi Stroud-Watts on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Asia.”

Let’s start with president biden’s comments on those tariffs on china how advanced are these conversations within the administration look i think that you know that i gave a speech last october um describing the biden administration’s approach bilaterally in the u.s china trade and economic relationship and since then we have been engaged in conversations uh

With china on the china’s performance under its phase one commitments um we also articulated the need for the united states to um champion the interests of american workers and the american economy um and uh continue to push for and fight for a level playing field um in the competition with china so what you have right now is a very deliberate approach by the

Biden administration in our economic engagement in asia i’m delighted to be here in tokyo with the president i came to tokyo from bangkok where uh the asia pacific economic cooperation held two days of trade minister meetings um and um the biden administration’s commitment to this region is clear and is being demonstrated right now by our physical presence here

So ambassador thai you mentioned those conversations with china do those include the prospect of lifting those tariffs on chinese imports and would that be contingent on china reciprocating so the first step in our engagement with china has been on china’s commitments under the phase one agreement which include intellectual property commitments that they’ve taken

As well as purchase commitments at the moment we are here in the indo-pacific engaging with our partners in this region on enhancing u.s engagement here economically we launched the indo-pacific economic framework just yesterday with 12 countries in this region and that is what we are doing today with respect to our our work with china we are continuing to

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Work on our deliberate next steps in addressing uh the competitive imbalances and the need to realign this trade relationship ambassador thai is now the right time to remove or talk about removing these tariffs you said back in march that you’d like to keep them in place as a kind of leverage is it more strategic to keep them there until other iron other issues

Are ironed out look with respect to the tariffs our approach as with everything in this relationship is to be strategic we have to keep our eye on the ball in terms of how to effectively realign the u.s china trade and economic relationship i know there’s a lot of talk around tariffs right now given international and global economic dynamics which have been

Really punctuated by impacts from russia’s invasion of ukraine all options are on the table in terms of how we address our short-term economic needs but our eye must be on the ball with respect to the medium and long-term need for the united states to realign this economic and trade relationship to ensure that we can as the united states emerge from this period of

Disruption stronger than we were when we came into it and part of that is a better economic engagement with this part of the world and the economic opportunities let me get some more details as we’re all waiting for on the indo-pacific economic framework there’s been criticism there’s been criticism domestically as well uh going into this trip that this is a pact

That lacks ambition it lacks specifics it doesn’t require tariffs uh what would be your answer to that well um take a look at the world around us right now this is a world that has experienced significant disruption from two plus years of a global pandemic it is a world economy that is being roiled right now by the economic impacts of russia’s invasion on ukraine

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With respect to energy prices and questions around food security we also have a world economy that is facing challenges from the need to make a green and clean transition and we have economies around the world that are going through a rapid digital transformation in the face of all of these dynamic changes what is clear to us in the biden administration is

That we need new approaches to trade and we need we need innovation in the way that we engage our partners and our allies and that is the program that we are bringing in the indo-pacific economic framework it is not a traditional trade agreement and that is by design what we are bringing to this region is a program for ensuring that we have durable and resilient

Economic engagement and that we are able to work with our partners here into an economic recovery that is sustainable resilient and inclusive ambassador tai that’s all great but these countries will also have to abide as you say the higher labor and environmental standards without the benefit of potentially lower tariffs and better access to u.s markets so what’s

The incentive the incentive is certainty right now if you look at issues arising in our global economy you’ve got supply chain disruptions that come from logistical challenges but you’ve also got significant supply chain challenges that come from not knowing whether your supply chains are clean whether or not they are working towards a carbon decreasing trend

And whether or not they are free from forced labor for instance the engagement that we are bringing is to establish norms and standards to provide our partners and our firms our workers and our people with more certainty in the version of globalization that we are working towards coming out of this pandemic and coming out of these very turbulent years why isn’t

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Your partner one of them taiwan because we have heard from the president that this is an open framework and the taiwanese foreign ministry has also said that they want to be included so will you be open to that idea in the future look so i just met with my counterpart from taiwan minister deng in bangkok a couple days ago while we were both at uh the apec meetings

Uh in thailand and um i have to tell you that um we had very positive conversations and we are committed to deepening and enhancing uh the bilateral trade and economic relationship and we’ve instructed our teams to work over the course of the next couple weeks on that deepening and enhancement ambassador you’ve talked about this idea of globalization 1.0 now

Globalization 2.0 hopefully being more resilient a lot of that resilience has been the breaking down of supply chains and logistics over the past couple of years what measures are you trying to put in place now that’s going to improve that well first of all um we have to talk to each other we are all experiencing this very similar if not the same challenges and

So one of the basic tenets of this economic framework is to create a platform for the united states and our partners and allies to come together to collaborate and cooperate on the challenges that we are facing today which are particularly acute um and um have been quite different from uh what we’ve experienced uh leading up to this period of time so i’ll start

There and reinforce the notion that with the launch of the indo-pacific economic framework this is where the real work happens this is where the rubber meets the road and this is where the really exciting explorations begin

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US Must Be 'Strategic' on China Tariffs, Trade Representative Tai Says By Bloomberg Markets and Finance