Biden confirms he won’t remove tariffs on China immediately

New York, Dec 2 (efe-epa).- President-elect Joe Biden said Wednesday that he will not remove the tariffs on China imposed by President Donald Trump and will make no “immediate moves” before developing a strategy with Washington’s Asian and European partners, according to an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

“I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs. I’m not going to prejudice my options,” Biden told Friedman in the interview, which dealt with the incoming president’s domestic and foreign policy priorities.

Biden said that before developing any strategy or making any moves, he wants to carry out a full review of the “phase one” trade deal that Trump reached with China, The Times reported.

The president-elect also said he wants to consult with traditional US allies in Asia and Europe “so we can develop a coherent strategy” vis-a-vis 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,” Biden said. “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 that he believes the key to dealing with China is building leverage with Beijing, but he added that “we don’t have it yet” and he wants to build bipartisan consensus in this country for strengthening US industry via massive investments.

“I want to make sure we’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first,” Biden said, adding that research in energy, biotech, advanced materials and artificial intelligence are all areas where more government investment would be helpful.

“I’m not going to enter any new trade agreement with anybody until we have made major investments here at home and in our workers,” as well as in education, he added.

Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20, 2021, said he will not remove the 25 percent tariffs on Chinese imports to the US imposed by Trump as part of his trade war with Beijing, and he will not cancel Trump’s agreement for China to buy $200 billion in US goods and services in exchange for trade concessions, a condition that he said is not being fulfilled.

He said that his focus will be to make progress on seeing China motivated to curtail its abusive practices, including the theft of intellectual property, “dumping,” illegal subsidies and technology transfer from firms that do business in the Asian giant.

Biden also said that he knows there are many Americans who feel “forgotten,” a point Trump has capitalized on, but that he feels he did a good thing for the country by ensuring that the mogul will not be president for another term.

He went on to say that it is crucial for Congress to approve a second stimulus package to deal with the economic harm caused by the coronavirus pandemic since there are more than “10 million” people who are worried about how they’re going to pay their mortgages and many others who cannot pay their rent.

Biden also said he supported raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to balance government accounts and also preventing some of the country’s biggest firms from continuing to pay virtually no taxes.

He said he could come to agreements with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell because he knows him well from his time as a US senator and as vice president under Barack Obama, but he warned Republicans that if they do not reach agreements on various issues they will see that their legislative seats are endangered in the 2022 midterm elections.

Biden also reiterated his aim to have the US return to the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran, in which the European Union and the members of the UN Security Council are also participating, and from which Trump withdrew the US in 2018, reimposing sanctions on Tehran that the incoming Democratic administration is inclined to remove.

He said that, in consultation with Washington’s partners, his administration will negotiate new accords to strengthen and extend the time period during which Iran’s nuclear program and missile programs will be restricted.

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