USTR vows to keep battling “significant” foreign trade barriers

The US government has vowed to continue battling what it sees as significant trade barriers that are harming American companies and farmers, and singled out China as the "world's leading offender" in creating overcapacities in several sectors.
calendar icon 6 April 2021
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Reuters reports that the US Trade Representative's office said its annual report on the issue showed "significant barriers that present major policy challenges with implications for future US growth opportunities, and the fairness of the global economy."

It said it would engage with foreign governments on various issues that threaten US exporters, including digital policies, agricultural trade barriers and technical barriers.

It also vowed to work to address Chinese subsidies that have created excess capacities in the steel, aluminum and solar sectors, and could soon affect other industries.

The report made clear that US Trade Representative Katherine Tai plans to continue a hardline approach to foreign trade practices that hamper US export growth, even as she has promised to work far more cooperatively with US allies.

US trading partners have been waiting anxiously to meet with Tai and understand how the Biden administration will shift its trade policies after four years of disruptive tariffs imposed by the administration of former President Donald Trump.

The 570-page National Trade Estimate Report shows that Washington will continue to challenge China and other countries that impose trade barriers or other regulatory hurdles, and limit access to US companies.

"China’s state-led approach to the economy and trade makes it the world’s leading offender in creating non-economic capacity, as evidenced by the severe and persistent excess capacity situations in several industries, including steel, aluminum, and solar, among others," USTR said in a statement,

It said Beijing was "well on its way to creating severe excess capacity in other industries" by "doling out hundreds of billions of dollars" to support Chinese companies under its Made in China 2025 industrial plan and requiring them to achieve preset targets for domestic and global market share.

USTR said it would continue its bilateral and multilateral efforts to address such "harmful trade practices".

The report also cited continued concerns in the agricultural arena, including "non-science-based regulatory measures, opaque approval processes for products of agricultural biotechnology, burdensome import licensing and certification requirements, and restrictions on the ability of US producers to use the common names of the products that they produce and export."

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Source: Reuters

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