American companies that do business and make their products in China are, by a majority, “optimistic” about a Joe Biden presidency, a new survey reveals.
The American Chamber of Commerce in a Shanghai, China, survey asked 124 business executives their opinions on a Biden presidency, to which a majority, nearly 63 percent, said they are “much more optimistic” or “more optimistic” about their doing business in the Communist country with the former vice president in the White House.
Likewise, the survey found that business executives do not expect Biden to impose more tariffs on China-made products — as President Trump did with billions of dollars worth of goods against the wishes of corporate interests.
“The majority of our respondents look at it as a positive,” Ker Gibbs, president of AmCham Shanghai, told CNBC in a phone interview. “The Biden administration would be a positive to the stability of the environment, the stability of the relationship.” [Emphasis added]
Under a Biden administration, only 5.6% of AmCham Shanghai survey respondents expect more tariffs. Instead, 70.2% anticipate new U.S. leadership will work more with other countries to put pressure on trade relations with China. [Emphasis added]
In August, Biden seemingly claimed he would repeal Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products. Later, his campaign aides walked the statement back, and he has since not been definitive on whether he plans to keep the tariffs or throw them out.
Already, the Business Roundtable, which represents some of the nation’s largest multinational corporations, is pushing Biden to ease the tariffs imposed on Chinese products by Trump, according to the Wall Street Journal:
“Unwinding the tariffs, especially with China, shouldn’t be a unilateral act,” said Josh Bolten, the BRT’s chief executive. “It should be an opening to begin a serious negotiation that the Trump administration attempted but in many respects made difficult through overly aggressive measures.” [Emphasis added]
On Monday, former George W. Bush administration Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson made a proposal similar to Mr. Bolten’s. “I would only remove existing tariffs when we have extracted a reciprocal and tangible benefit from China, met by defined benchmarks in a phased bilateral trade agreement,” he said at conference. [Emphasis added]
Myron Brilliant, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s executive vice president, added his voice to the rollback call on Tuesday. “We would hope that China would agree to the importance of further efforts on structural reforms unaddressed by the phase-one agreement,” he said in an interview, “and that the U.S. and China can find the political space to pull back tariffs that are currently in place.” [Emphasis added]
Biden has promised the opposite approach to China that Trump has successfully implemented for almost four years. Whereas Trump’s focus was on an “America First” bilateral trade policy with other nation-states, Biden is promising the multilateral approach that has formed the Washington, D.C., free trade consensus for decades.