As the US and China work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden Administration continues to lay out its policy priorities via its national budget draft and a number of far-reaching legislative proposals. To date, the Administration's greatest efforts have been aimed at domestically focused goals, most notably the passage of a vast Coronavirus "Rescue Act" and pursuit of a massive infrastructure Bill, but the broad features of a Biden foreign policy have begun to emerge. Conspicuous among the latter is a vigorous effort to rebuild frayed ties with "like-minded" states, notably in the Indo-Pacific region, and a stark declaration of current Sino-American relations as intensely competitive.
This has lately been reflected in enhanced pressures – both from U.S. groups and from upset voices in China, directed at American companies heavily involved with China. Long-festering economic and trade issues remain high on the list of Sino-American frictions, as more strident voices in the US call for economic "decoupling" and American legislators move to adopt heightened protections against alleged Chinese misconduct in the trade, investment, and cyber realms. Tensions over the South China Sea and Taiwan have increased. Mutual ill will stemming from the controversy over the genesis of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as bubbling tensions over political sensitivities in the runup to the 2022 Olympic Games, augur for a period of high sensitivity in the bilateral relationship.
Advocates of greater stability and comity between the US and the PRC, however, point to several broad areas in which bilateral cooperation is not only feasible but essential for the future of humanity itself. The manifest dangers accompanying climate change, challenges of environmental protection, control and prevention of pandemics, await effective Sino-American cooperation, along with a host of pressing security issues.
As the Biden team's approach to China takes shape, the US Congress works on China-focused legislation, and Beijing and Washington continue to evince high levels of strategic distrust, what challenges – immediate and longer-term – await American firms with strong China interests?
Join AmCham China and the US-China Education Trust on April 28th for "Biden's First 100 Days: US-China Relationship at a Crossroads" as distinguished experts discuss these and other questions of concern to our broad trans-Pacific audience.
Chairman Emeritus at AmCham China
Senior Fellow at Brookings
Emeritus Scholar at American Enterprise Institute
Reporter at Wall Street Journal