Trade after Trump: Can the Biden Administration Shore up the Eroding Foundations of American Leadership?
35 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 2021
The results of the 2020 elections do not mean a quick or easy return to U.S. leadership in the trading system. This examination instead stresses a series of global and domestic challenges, several of which stem from long-term shifts in power and wealth. In addition to the rise of China, these include a reputational hangover from the Trump administration and the proliferation of agreements that prize targeted liberalization over nondiscrimination. The Biden administration must also contend with protectionist industries, lack of comity between the branches of government, and the two parties’ contradictory priorities on trade-related issues. The net effect is that American statesmen may continue to assign a low priority to trade, their attention is more likely to be directed toward discriminatory than multilateral initiatives, and the administration will face competing demands that complicate the negotiation and approval even of free trade agreements with selected partners.
Keywords: US trade policy, domestic politics, China, Biden administration, trade agreements.
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