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Don’t expect any individual trade deals anytime soon

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The Biden Administration is getting its feet under it in these first 100 days. One of the things they are focused on is trade. More significantly changing the way the U.S. conducts trade negotiations. The Trump administration took a very aggressive approach, while President Biden has committed to building trade coalitions, especially in regard to taking on China. One analyst says not to expect a flurry of individual trade deals anytime soon.

Taiwan is one of the countries that was hoping to reach a trade agreement with the United States. However, Scott Harold of the Rand Defense Research Group says to not expect that to happen anytime soon. He sees the Biden Administration putting more effort into getting back into the Comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CTPP). Harold says that a Taiwan agreement is more of a latter part of the first-term or a second-term kind of goal for President Biden.

What is interesting is the U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai was born in Taiwan and has a unique perspective on the country. That would go a long way into getting a deal done, which would be a trade policy victory for President Biden.

However, the bigger goal still is the CTPP. For Biden, it would be a boost to having a trade alliance in the region to go after Chinese trade practices. That is something that President Biden advocated for in his campaign and critics of President Trump’s trade policy said should have happened before we took China on by ourselves. China is already making waves over Taiwan, and a united Pacific front could put pressure on the world’s second-largest economy.

Another monkey wrench in the possibility of a trade deal with Taiwan comes in the pork sector. Taiwan is opposed to importing any pork treated with ractopamine. There is a referendum in Taiwan to make the opposition official once again. This could be a major setback in trade relations between the U.S. and Taiwan. That sentiment was conveyed by Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party Mission Chief Mike Fonte.

Again, we are only in the first 100 days of the Biden Presidency. There is a long way to go and trade deals do not happen overnight. There is no air-tight guarantee that the United States will be allowed back into the CTPP after it so ceremoniously removed itself under the Trump Administration.

For perspective though, just remember that in 2016 both major party nominees said they were going to pull the U.S. out of the Pacific trade pact negotiated during the Obama Administration.

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