Re-aligning the U.S.-China trade relationship, engaging with key trading partners and multilateral institutions, pursuing worker-centered trade policies, accelerating decarbonization, bolstering supply chain resiliency, and enforcing trade rules are some of the key priorities outlined in the recently released U.S. trade policy agenda for this year.
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The Biden administration intends to continue to use all available tools to ensure China competes fairly with the U.S., including by actively working with like-minded partners to fight against Beijing’s unfair and anticompetitive practices that harm workers and businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere. At the same time, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative highlights the “historic investments” made domestically, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, which will enable the U.S. “to compete from a position of strength.”
Engagement with Key Trading Partners
The administration’s goal of engaging with key trading partners and multilateral institutions is headlined by the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity and the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, which USTR indicates “are top priorities for the Administration in 2023 to implement this vision”, as well as the U.S. initiatives with Kenya and Taiwan. The U.S. is also intensifying engagement in multilateral institutions and international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization, and intends to take advantage of its hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum this year to strengthen relations with economies throughout that region.
The administration is using the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to “enforce workers’ rights and drive a race to the top in North America” while seeking “high-standard labor commitments” throughout new trade initiatives. The administration believes farmers, ranchers, producers, processors, fishers, and food manufacturers are central to the U.S. worker-centered trade policy and is “creating new opportunities for American agriculture, including through our new initiatives and existing agreements.”
Combating the climate crisis and promoting sustainable environmental practices continue to be top priorities for the administration, which will continue to use a range of available tools to advance environmental goals and combat climate change. Work with the European Union on the Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel and Aluminum will remain a top priority, as this arrangement is expected to “drive decarbonization while also limiting anti-competitive and non-market practices that contribute to worldwide excess capacity.”
Supply Chain Resiliency
Following Executive Order 14017 on America’s supply chains, USTR is actively engaged and coordinated with like-minded partners to develop durable solutions that advance supply chain resilience in critical areas such as semiconductors, large capacity batteries, critical minerals and materials, and pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients.
USTR asserts the administration “has been vigorously enforcing our trade agreements to combat unfair, non-market practices, defend American jobs, and create broad-based economic prosperity.” This includes enforcing labor and environmental standards, ensuring that regulations are science-based and predictable, and protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights.
Equitable, Inclusive, and Durable Trade Policy
To ensure U.S. trade policies are durable and equitable the administration is expanding and sustaining its engagement with more communities, enhancing its understanding of how trade has affected American workers, and incorporating more voices into its policymaking process. The U.S. also intends to continue working with trade partners to advance racial and gender equity, equality, and economic empowerment through trade. Moreover, efforts to improve the scope, granularity, and quality of data and expand research and analytical tools to better inform U.S. trade policy will similarly carry on.
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