In this file:
· WSJ: Trade Chief Lighthizer Urges Biden to Keep Tariffs on China
· EXCLUSIVE-U.S. trade czar Lighthizer's advice for Biden on China: "Hold their feet to the fire"
Trade Chief Lighthizer Urges Biden to Keep Tariffs on China
The trade lawyer who engineered the Trump administration’s economic confrontation with Beijing argues that tariffs get results
By Bob Davis, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
Jan. 11, 2021
WASHINGTON—In his nearly four years in office, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer helped move protectionism from the fringes of American policy-making to the core. His advice to the Biden administration: Stay the course.
Keep tariffs on China—all of them—even if that raises prices for U.S. businesses and consumers, he said. Weaken the World Trade Organization so that it can’t overrule U.S. policies, and make it harder for American companies to move overseas despite the cost to their competitiveness.
In an interview, Mr. Lighthizer credited the Trump administration with taking a tough approach toward Chinese trade practices that benefited U.S. workers—ending years of accommodation by previous administrations fearful of angering Beijing.
“We changed the way people think about China,” Mr. Lighthizer said. “We want a China policy that thinks about the geopolitical competition between the United States and an adversary—an economic adversary.”
The 73-year-old Mr. Lighthizer—tall, gravelly voiced and pugnacious—was the engineer who helped steer the Trump administration’s economic confrontation with China. He turned President Trump’s anger at Beijing into a two-year trade war where he deployed tariffs on a scale not seen since the 1930s...
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EXCLUSIVE-U.S. trade czar Lighthizer's advice for Biden on China: "Hold their feet to the fire"
President-elect Joe Biden should keep pressing China to stick to the "Phase 1" trade deal and use tariffs as leverage, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Reuters, adding that Beijing has done a "reasonably good job" implementing parts of the deal.
David Lawder and Andrea Shalal, Reuters
via Nasdaq - Dec 16, 2020
WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - President-elect Joe Biden should keep pressing China to stick to the "Phase 1" trade deal and use tariffs as leverage, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Reuters, adding that Beijing has done a "reasonably good job" implementing parts of the deal.
In a rare interview late on Tuesday, Lighthizer defended the Trump administration's record in shredding the status quo on trade and imposing unilateral tariffs on $370 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Beijing signed the Phase 1 trade deal nearly a year ago after months of tariffs, promising to boost purchases of U.S. agricultural and manufactured goods, energy and services by $200 billion above 2017 levels over two years.
The tariffs have cost U.S. importers $71.6 billion since they started in July of 2018, according to U.S. Customs data.
They forced companies to tear up supply chains, roiled financial markets and slowed economic growth well before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Asked what Biden, declared winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election by the Electoral College on Monday, should do with the Phase 1 deal, Lighthizer said: "I would hold their feet to the fire on Phase 1."
"I think in some parts they (China) have done a reasonably good job, in other parts they haven't," Lighthizer said.
He said that Beijing is well behind on its purchase commitments, partly due to the pandemic. As of October, Beijing’s purchases of U.S. goods and services were about half the level the Phase 1 deal requires, on a pro-rated annual basis, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
"I would use the dispute settlement process to resolve specific issues," Lighthizer said. "I would keep the tariffs in place for sure. I think if you see the tariffs dissipating that's a signal that we're not serious about understanding that China is a strategic adversary."
Biden said in August he thought the Phase 1 deal was "failing." But in December, he told a New York Times columnist that he did not plan "any immediate moves" to change the deal or the tariffs on Chinese goods.
Biden will take office on Jan. 20.
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