After Trump: What will Biden do on trade?

Jan 13, 2021

President Donald J. Trump’s disruptive America First agenda was nowhere on greater display than in the realm of trade policy, where he launched a trade war with China, imposed tariffs on U.S. allies, and renegotiated major trade agreements.

President-Elect Joe Biden has slammed Trump’s approach but likewise hammered China’s unfair practices and criticized unrestrained globalization. His “foreign policy for the middle class” promises no new trade talks until Washington undertakes massive domestic investments.

What has Trump done on trade?

Trump took aim at a global trading system he said was rigged against U.S. interests and responsible for large trade deficits, declining U.S. manufacturing, and the offshoring of American jobs.

His administration’s major moves included:

Withdrawal and disengagement



China trade war

What has Biden proposed?

During his presidential campaign, Biden sought to chart a course somewhere between Trump’s trade wars and an uncritical acceptance of free trade.

He hammered Trump’s go-it-alone approach, arguing that Washington must “write the rules of the road” on trade within the existing international system. He has long been a supporter of trade liberalization: as vice president he championed the TPP, and as a senator he voted for NAFTA and China’s entry into the WTO.

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