Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends the signing ceremony of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement after the fourth RCEP Summit, held via video link on Nov. 15, 2020. Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan signed the agreement on behalf of China.
Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
The biggest hole in the Biden administration’s otherwise encouraging efforts to better compete with China — a void that could undermine all the other pieces — is the lack of an international trade strategy.
While President Xi Jinping’s China accelerates his efforts to negotiate multilateral and bilateral trade and investment agreements around the world, both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. have grown allergic to such arrangements.
“The Chinese believe deeply in the significance of the correlation of forces, and they believe that correlation at the moment is in their favor,” says Stephen Hadley, former national security advisor to President George W. Bush. If the U.S. fails to alter that Chinese conviction, it won’t regain the leverage needed to deal with Beijing.
“The most important missing element in changing that Chinese calculus is a trade strategy,” Hadley says, one that could rally global allies, provide American jobs and growth, and counter escalating Chinese efforts to organize the world economy around itself.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once called the U.S. the world’s “indispensable country,” but Xi is now positioning…