In an interview with The New York Times, Joe Biden said he will not “immediately” lift tariffs on Chinese goods or scrap President Trump’s Phase One trade deal, which was signed by the US and China in January.
“I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs,” Biden said in the interview that was published on Wednesday. Biden said he first wants to conduct a review of the trade deal and consult with US allies in Europe and Asia about China.
“The best China strategy, I think, is one which gets every one of our — or at least what used to be our — allies on the same page. It’s going to be a major priority for me in the opening weeks of my presidency to try to get us back on the same page with our allies,” he said.
In November, Biden said the US should work with allies to counter China’s influence so they can “set the rules.” The comments came after China signed a significant trade deal with 14 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The RCEP includes major US allies in the region including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.
A Biden administration is expected to continue President Trump’s hostile policies towards China in other areas. Like in the South China Sea, where the US sails warships and flies military aircraft to challenge China’s claims, a policy that began under the Obama administration and was escalated by Trump.
The Trump administration has been working to forge stronger military alliances in Asia to counter Beijing. The US recently signed a new defense pact with India and is expected to pursue a long-term military agreement with the Philippines. With Biden and his cabinet picks, like his long-time aide Anthony Blinken, so focused on building alliances, they are expected to keep this momentum going and form an anti-China coalition.