The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released the eagerly anticipated 2021 Trade Agenda and 2020 Annual Report to Congress. This annual report outlines the President’s trade policy priorities each year and is the first to be released under the Biden presidency. Readers would recall that last week, USTR nominee Katherine Tai had her Senate confirmation hearing, giving us some greater glimpses into what possible directions the Biden-Harris administration might take on some of the major trade issues of the day. Her opening statement to the Senate Finance Committee may be read here.
The Biden administration’s trade priorities reflect a generally more inward-looking trade policy disposition than the more open approaches that defined most contemporary pre-Trump US administrations. The priorities include shoring up the COVID-19-hit US economy, promoting US job creation/preservation and a pledge to ‘stand up” for American industry and workers. The report notes that the President’s trade agenda will be ‘a critical component’ of the Biden Administration’s plan to Build Back Better. As expected, there is also a commitment for a comprehensive strategy on curbing China’s “unfair trade practices”.
A marked departure, however, from his predecessor is the inclusion of a stated focus on climate action and on racial equality and a more concerted effort to work with ‘friends and allies’.
Biden-Harris’ trade priorities according to USTR report
The trade policy priorities identified are
- Tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic and Restoring the Economy
2. Putting Workers at the Center of Trade Policy
3. Putting the World on a Sustainable Environment and Climate Path
4. Addressing China’s Coercive and Unfair Economic Trade Practices Through a
5. Partnering with friends and allies
6. Standing Up for American Farmers, Ranchers, Food Manufacturers, and
7. Promoting Equitable Economic Growth Around the World
8. Making the rules count
The report can be accessed here.