The Indicator from Planet Money - Make Trade Stale Again

President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration will have massive implications for trade policy. Soumaya Keynes explains how Biden's approach to trade might differ from Trump's.

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Content Keywords: Biden friends War China Trump US

everyone is Cardiff. This is indicator from planet money for those of us who've been following global trade in Especially Yours trade policy last 4 years have been wild and that's obviously because of the trade Wars that the US under President Trump has been fighting not just against China which is a geopolitical rival to the US but also against us allies with the US putting Place tariffs on Goods imported from abroad and then countries like China and our allies retaliating with Terrace of their own and if I'm being honest trade policy is not just really combative during that time, but also kind of unusually exciting but pending some lingering legal challenges the election we are going to have a new president soon. So how will President Biden supposed to trade differ from President Trump's approach to trade is there to help us answer that question?

If you others is McCain's she's a trade and globalization editor at The Economist and she's the co-host of the trade talks podcast with Chad down another friend of the indicator. She joins me today Americans. Welcome. Thank you for having me. So what are your recent episodes of trade talks was about whether President Biden would make trade boring again. So I just got to ask like this boring sound appealing to you after 4 years of of such active events in the trade World. It sounds like a Adele light my I am looking forward to it and enormous amount more than I would care to admit mileages. You'll certainly get more sleep that way that's for sure before getting into some details as you want to just start by asking how you think President Biden would differ from President Trump and his overall approach to making trade policy is going to be the where is the Trump administration's policy was occasionally tweet first workout the Deep

Play the Biden Administration is going to be much more deliberative much more collaborative within the administration are going to be many more voices one way of looking at it could be the where is the Trump Administration sword trade policy first foreign policy second. I find Administration would see trade policy as part of a much bigger foreign policy and that for broader than trays tactics being fired out from random places that might be something closer to an overall foreign policy strategy. I wish I'd 41 Parts the US trade Wars have not just been with China which gets a lot of the attention. We've also raised tariffs on imports from our allies to take one example, there are now tariffs on steel and aluminum Imports, which two countries in the European Union have been especially upset about and the EU has in fact portal.

It against the US. So how do you think the Biden Administration would differ in how the US trade with its allies when it comes in? I think perhaps a president might be surprised at how often world leaders are going to bring up in conversation. Hey, we put these terrorists, please. Please get rid of them something about consider a few different things you can do so so on the steel tariffs been tracing to inflict looks more foreign competition on the American steel industry direct their pledges in there to buy more American Steel in when when thinking about government contracts and so on and so I don't get the impression that fit day one that's going to be the big removal of the tax for the with a great big flourish. I just want to say that you couldn't work something out. You could loosen up the exclusions process. So you basically you would grunt companies exceptions you could renegotiate them so that they were a bit less pay.

Full for the following exporters. There are things that the US could do that thing going on between the US and France right now. We're the friends who said that they wanted and hoes attacks on American internet companies that do business in France a so-called Digital Services tax in the US has said that it would respond to that text with Terrace on French Handbags and French Cosmetics. What do you think's going to happen there? It's possible that actually dividing Administration could inherit tariffs. It's possible that the Trump Administration on the way out could could go ahead and apply the tires and so it wouldn't be a case of by deciding whether to put new ones on but what to do with ties already in place with that I would imagine some kind of negotiation apps, but the rhetoric coming out in front is not very conducive for a for a friendly check my texts about how to resolve this. All right, so by

French handbags now, he'll be wise. Okay, let's take a quick break and on the other side of the break we're going to talk about the trade war with China and what Biden might do with the World Trade Organization?

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Mac matte let's talk about China and the US now, obviously the Trump Administration is raised tariffs on a lot of goods imported from China as part of the trade War China has retaliated at the same time. There is actually a lot of bipartisan support in the u.s. For being tough on China when it comes to trade. So how would the by Administration approach trade with China in a way that's fundamentally different if it all from the way that the Trump Administration has approached it. There are a few things that that I think would change at 1 would be that rather than taking of are you not from approach rather than saying? Okay you the US and try not to get in the boxing ring and sort this out just the two of us there would be more of an emphasis on bringing others on board for the u.s. Reasonable collaborating with other countries like Japan or the countries in the EU and negotiating together against China. I think one thing that has possibly been overlooked is the

When the by demonstration talks about working with allies that probably means asking allies to do stuff so far. It's been the Trump Administration in a waiting on a stick fighting with sticks and everyone else's is looked on being like a wolf how how how very unruly but underbite Administration the Americans be more likely to say. Okay. We'll come on and join us if you were so worried about China then you need to put some skin in the game here. And that means you need to be tougher to and my last question is about the World Trade Organization WTO. Which listeners you don't know what it is. It's this Global organization that among other things it exists to settle disputes between countries peacefully when it comes to trade so that a bigger trade war is voided, but the US has a lot of influence over the WTO and the Trump Administration has used that influence to weaken it in the past few years to make it less relevant. For example by blocking the appointment of Judge.

To sit on the wto's Appellate body, which is the body that settles disputes between members between countries. Do you think the bite Administration will reinvigorate the WTO make it relevant again yet. It depends that the question for a bite Administration is does it need the WTO was a Pilot body how quickly does it need the wto's system of solving disputes in the short time. It might decide that actually it's okay just going off on its own and innocence coping with the Trump Administration did not see what these investigations into other governments Trade Practices or it might decide that I should know that's not the way to do things. But that the wto's we're doing things before was a bit slow in a bit cumbersome. And you know, what were the things that they really care about that process wasn't going to get the money results anyway.

Are the point of which to buy the ministration decide look this thing is useful to us. Then we can start having a conversation about how to fix old problems with with the way that the system has worked. But given that some of those problems involve decisions that were made in the past which are the WTO members are actually quite happy with resolving those difference is going to be really difficult. I take a while and I can't thank you so much thanks to having me by Darren woods and fact check by Shawn. Saldania, the indicators edited by Patty Hirsch and is a production of NPR.

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