Based on Biden, US allies should set up world commerce guidelines to counter China’s affect

© Reuters. President-elect Joe Biden speaks on the US economy after a briefing in Wilmington, Delaware

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said Monday the United States would need to negotiate with allies to set global trade rules to counter China’s growing influence, but declined to say whether he would back a new one from China would join the Asian Trade Pact, which was signed Sunday.

At a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, when asked if the US would join the Asia-focused Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with 15 countries, Biden said he could not discuss US trade policy because he was not in office “and there is only one president at a time. “

“We make up 25% … of the world economy,” Biden said of the United States. “We need to get aligned with the other democracies, another 25% or more, so that we can set the rules of the road instead of China and others dictating the results because they are the only game in town.”

The signing of the RCEP at a regional summit in Hanoi creates the world’s largest trade agreement, which covers 30% of the global economy and 30% of the world’s population and joins the Asian powers China, Japan and South Korea for the first time.

It’s also another setback to U.S. influence in the region after President Donald Trump in 2017 canceled the 12-Country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact negotiated when Biden was vice president.

Biden said he has a detailed trading plan that he would discuss on January 21, 2021, the day after he is due to be sworn into office.

While TPP members, including Japan and many free trade advocates, have expressed hope that Biden would re-join this trade pact, he has said little on the matter, and advisors have said he will not immediately remove tariffs on Chinese goods.

Biden said he told leaders the United States was moving closer to trade by insisting that Washington “invest in American workers and make them more competitive,” ensure labor and environmental interests are represented in new trade negotiations, and stop “sticking our fingers in” the eyes of our friends. “

When asked why he would not comment on trade deal plans when he said he would rejoin the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Agreement, Biden said, “They asked me if I would join a particular proposal, the details of which the to be negotiated now only between these nations. It would require negotiation. ”

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