Biden Looks to Repair Trading Alliances Fractured by Trump

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    A transatlantic alliance fractured by Donald Trump’s unilateral trade policies appeared headed for repair as both President-elect Joe Biden and Europe signaled an urgency to rejoin a united front against China’s ascendancy in the global economy.

    “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,” Biden told New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. “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.”

    Meanwhile, in Brussels, the European Union is making a sweeping proposal for cooperation with the incoming Biden administration to counter the influence of countries like China and Russia.

    “This combined power and influence is indispensable to anchor global cooperation in the 21st century,” the European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s executive arm, said in a strategy paper published on Wednesday. “Our joint commitment is essential in a world where authoritarian powers seek to subvert democracies, aggressive actors try to destabilize regions and institutions, and closed economies exploit the openness our own societies depend on.”

    The Trump administration and the EU have been at loggerheads over issues ranging from digital taxes on large tech companies, to aircraft subsidies and the leadership of the World Trade Organization. High on the list of potential economic risks in a second Trump term was a tariff war between the U.S. and Europe, which the current president has called worse than China when it comes to cross-border commerce.

    EU foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell called for a “revamped transatlantic partnership” under the Biden administration.

    “We hope that everything will be improved — on all subjects, on all issues,” Borrell told reporters in the Belgian capital when presenting the commission’s strategy paper. “We expect that we can build a better partnership.”

    Alluding to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, Borrell said the EU’s goal with Biden is “to make multilateralism great again.”

    In his recent public remarks, Biden is confirming interest in a renewed multilateral approach to address trade imbalances with America’s traditional allies.

    For the EU, the aim is to bring the U.S. back into the multilateral system that the country was instrumental in forging after World War II and to leverage transatlantic unity to shape global developments in policy areas ranging from trade to health.

    In his interview with the Times, Biden said he wouldn’t immediately scupper the trade agreement Trump reached with China in January and will review it before making any decisions. The deal, billed as the first step in a series, led to a ceasefire on tariffs between the world’s two largest economies and pledges from Beijing to purchase more American imports.

    “I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs,” Biden said, according to the report. “I’m not going to prejudice my options.”

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