Trade Policy Under the Biden Administration

6 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2020

Date Written: June 09, 2020

Abstract

The past several years have been tumultuous ones for U.S. trade policy. After strident rhetoric from Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, his administration followed up with a wide range of aggressive actions. Congress, U.S. trading partners, businesses, and consumers have all been pushed to their limits by an administration that has taken U.S. policy in a protectionist and unilateral direction.

If Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the 2020 election, he will face the challenge of developing a coherent U.S. trade policy that provides stability and certainty. This paper presents an overview of the trade issues a President Joe Biden would likely face, with some suggestions on possible approaches his administration might take. It covers seven major topics, with some overlap among them:

Trade agreements: What should U.S. trade agreements say, and with whom should the United States negotiate them?

The World Trade Organization (WTO): How should a Biden administration deal with the many challenges faced by the multilateral trade institution that is the foundation of the trading system?

China: How should a Biden administration approach China’s controversial and difficult integration into the trading system?

The United States‐​Mexico‐​Canada Agreement (USMCA): Can some of the USMCA’s flaws be fixed during implementation?

Executive trade actions: How should a Biden administration use executive branch discretion over trade policy?

The role of Congress: Is it time to recalibrate the legislative/​executive balance of power over trade?
Personnel: Who should be in charge of U.S. trade policy?

Keywords: trade, trade law, congress, executive trade actions, WTO, World Trade Organization, trade agreements, trade policy, Joe Biden, Biden

JEL Classification: F10, F1, F13, F16, F2, F20

Suggested Citation

Institute, Cato and Lester, Simon, Trade Policy Under the Biden Administration (June 09, 2020). Cato Institute, Free Trade Bulletin No. 76 (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3630422

Cato Institute (Contact Author)

Cato Institute ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

Simon Lester

Cato Institute ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

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