US, allies need to counter China by setting global trade rules: Biden

Biden says he will release detailed US trade plan one day after being sworn into office

Biden at press conference in Wilmington, Delaware

Biden at press conference in Wilmington, Delaware (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday (Nov. 16) said America needs to negotiate with allies to set global trading rules to counter China’s growing influence.

Biden was asked if the U.S. would join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a 15-nation Pan-Asia trade pact, at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, Reuters reported. Biden replied that he could not talk about U.S. trade policy, as he had not yet taken office, stating that “There’s only one president at a time.”

However, Biden said the U.S. was responsible for a quarter of the world’s economic output, adding: “We need to be aligned with the other democracies, another 25 percent or more so that we can set the rules of the road instead of having China and others dictate outcomes because they are the only game in town.”

The RCEP, which was signed on Sunday (Nov. 15) at a summit in Hanoi, took most of the existing pacts signed by the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — and adds them to a multilateral agreement with China, Japan, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. It establishes the world's largest trade agreement, accounting for 30 percent of the global economy and 30 percent of the global population.

Biden told reporters that he would reveal a detailed trade plan on Jan. 21, 2021, the day after he is sworn into office, according to Reuters. He added that he had told other leaders the U.S. would approach trade by letting them know Washington would “invest in American workers and make them more competitive,” ensure labor and environmental interests are represented in new trade negotiations, and stop “poking our finger in the eyes of our friends.”