U.S. Isn’t Looking for a ‘Divorce’ From China, Trade Chief Says

The U.S. is seeking to realign its commercial ties with China rather than seek a “divorce” between the world’s biggest economies, U.S. trade chief Katherine Tai said on Tuesday.

Asked in an interview whether U.S.-China tensions could lead to decoupling, Tai said the Biden administration’s policy was focused instead on “realignment in the global economy.” That includes addressing the lack of visibility, accountability and diversity in supply chains that has led to disruptions in recent years, she told Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in Singapore.

“I would focus really on the kinds of changes that we’re trying to bring, which are really not about stopping trade or trade divorce,” Tai said. “They’re really about bringing reform and a more strategic approach to trade.”

Tai’s remarks follow a congressional hearing last week where she said discussions with China have become “unduly difficult” and the U.S. needs new tools to stand against anti-competitive behavior by the world’s second-largest economy. She told lawmakers it was time to forget about changing China’s behavior and instead focus on rebuilding the U.S. industrial manufacturing base and making domestic investments to counter the Asian nation.

In the interview, Tai gave few details about specifics on dealing with China, simply saying her office was seeking to “create incentives for our economic actors to ensure that this relationship is one that feels balanced, that is fair.”

Authors: Philip J. Heijmans, Eric Martin, Haslinda Amin, BNN Bloomberg

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