Trade relations between China and the United States, the largest economies in the world, are still “out of balance”. That’s what American Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Saturday before a virtual meeting of the trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
The trade representative, who replaced Robert Lighthizer last winter, says that parts of the trade relationship between countries are still “unhealthy” and have also been detrimental to the US economy in a number of ways over time. Tai responded to the question of whether the US would continue with the trade agreement concluded with China in January last year and with tariffs on Chinese goods.
The US stressed that there is not only an imbalance in terms of performance, but also in terms of opportunity and openness.
“The United States is determined to do everything in its power to rebalance trade relations between the US and China,” said Tai.
The comments followed at a time when the two countries seemed to be strengthening their economic ties. For example, Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He has spoken to both Tai and Finance minister Janet Yellen over the past two weeks. According to China, the talks show that the two countries have resumed normal communication, but there are no public signs of any progress as far as adjustments in, for example, trade tariffs and other economic issues are concerned.
Despite a promised review, the Biden government has not made any major changes to the policy of former US president Donald Trump. Tai said earlier that it wanted to build on the trade pact of January 2020, but for the time being, the US attitude towards China has not improved at all.
Despite diplomatic and political tensions, trade and investment flows between the two countries continue to increase. Chinese exports to the US are still growing, while China is buying more goods from the US, even if that is not enough to reach the level promised in the earlier trade agreement.