US President-elect Joe Biden said on Monday that the United States needs to negotiate with allies to establish rules for global trade to counter China’s growing influence. Joe Biden, however, declined to say if he would join the new China-backed Asia trade pact signed on Sunday.
Asked at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, whether the United States will join the 15-country Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, Biden said that he could not yet discuss US trade policy because he had not taken office. …
“The US accounts for 25% of the global economy,” Biden said. “We need to coordinate our actions with other democracies, with the other 25%, so that we can make rules instead of being dictated by China and others.”
The RCEP signing at the regional summit in Hanoi creates the largest trade agreement in the world, covering 30% of the world economy and 30% of the world population, uniting Asian powers, China, Japan and South Korea for the first time.
It also marks another setback for the United States in the region after President Trump in 2017 pulled out of the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement struck while Biden was vice president.
Biden said he has a detailed trading plan that he will discuss on January 21, 2021, the day after taking office as president.
While TPP members, including Japan, and many free trade advocates expressed hope that Biden would rejoin the trade pact, he said little about the matter, and advisers said Biden would not immediately lift duties on Chinese goods.
The president-elect noted that he told leaders of states that the US approach to trade would be based on “investing in American workers to make them more competitive.”