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Trade Envoy Tai: The US Not Seeking to ‘Decouple’ from China

by Gabriel Martinez
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Katherine Tai, the United States’ Trade Representative, said while visiting Tokyo that they are not trying to break up economic ties with China. Ms.Tai mentioned that all of President Joe Biden’s advisors have made it clear that their intention is not for the US and China to stop doing business together. She also noted that the sanctions against China have been targeted very precisely.

According to Tai, it is impossible to break the connection between China and the world economy as it is very large and important. Chinese officials have expressed their anger towards American sanctions which are making it harder for them to get access to advanced technology. The U.S is seen as trying to stop China from achieving wealth.

Tai said that continuing to trade with China is an option and she’d be willing to talk with her counterparts in Beijing, but no trips are planned right now. The U.S. Government is finding ways to become more secure against China’s increasing power and control over a lot of manufacturing industries.

Because of the pandemic and other measures taken to stop the spread of Corona virus, some important items, such as computer chips, have been in short supply. This has made it very important for people to ensure that their supply chains are secure and reliable.

A new deal has been made so that electric cars using certain metals from Japan will get a special tax discount. That agreement is an example of the U.S. trying to make sure everyone stays safe.

Recently, we have realized how vulnerable our global systems of getting goods are. Especially during the coronavirus pandemic and when Russia attacked Ukraine without a good reason. We have also found out that we depend too much on certain countries to get the minerals that we need to make clean energy. That is what Ms Tai was saying.

The new government of President Biden thinks that the way America normally deals with other countries when it comes to buying and selling stuff, did not prepare them for how China uses money or that Russia could cause battles between countries who trade with each other.

Recently, Tai gave a talk at American University about making friends with other countries and not having to depend on China for our supplies. She called this process “friend-shoring”.

Tai mentioned that the partnership between America and Japan has been successful, bringing good things to companies and people on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. She talked about how the limitations for exporting beef from the U.S.A have been removed, as well as selling more ethanol to Japan. Lastly she mentioned the progress made by Washington in a trade agreement called IEF or Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

She said they will meet in two weeks in Singapore to have a discussion about the agreement. There are 13 countries that are part of this framework, including the United States. These countries make up 40% of the world’s economy and include Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The US government recently travelled to Vietnam and the Philippines as part of its plan to build stronger relationships in that region. They are hoping to strengthen its economic and defense ties with both countries, as well as Japan, so that they can stand up to China.

Tai had a meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Yoshimasa Hayashi. They talked about how to make supply chains stronger and less likely to have any issues. The Japanese Foreign Ministry is in charge of stuff like this, so they said something about it after the meeting was done.

She met with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Yasutoshi Nishimura. They talked about how to make sure supply chains are strong – important during the pandemic when we were running out of things like computer chips – and how to work together to protect human rights at work.

Japan and the United States have made a group that is committed to stopping bad human rights practices in international companies. To show this, a person named Tai went to visit an outdoors store called Patagonia in the popular Shibuya area of Tokyo. A reporter from The Associated Press (AP) and a business writer also joined him.

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