U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and other Biden administration economic officials have held a flurry of meetings in recent weeks with their Chinese counterparts. These conversations are a good start to stabilizing strained relations between the two countries, worsened by Trump-era policies aimed at recalibrating the commercial relationship ranging from tariffs to sanctions to tightened export controls and foreign investment reviews. But after these initial meetings — and reports Wednesday of future talks — it’s unclear what the next steps are in U.S.-China trade and investment negotiations.
While the Biden team is still conducting what it calls a “top-to-bottom” review of policies toward China, Tai has said that any movement on tariffs would depend on three factors: conversations with China, the effectiveness of the Phase One trade agreement and U.S. strategy on China. As Cabinet members and President Joe Biden prepare for additional discussions, they should also consider a fourth factor: the price that the United States will continue paying — with American jobs and competitiveness — if it keeps on the current path, particularly regarding the tariffs that remain on goods worth $370 billion.
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