To counter China, US trade rep seeks closer ties to allies

April 5, 2023  -WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is pressing its case for a new approach to global trade, arguing that America’s traditional reliance on promoting free trade pacts failed to anticipate China’s brass-knuckled brand of capitalism and the possibility a major power like Russia would go to war against one of its trading partners.

In a speech Wednesday at American University, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is calling for a strategy of what’s known as “friend-shoring” — building up supply chains among allied countries and reducing dependence on geopolitical rivals such as China. Rising tension with Beijing and supply-chain bottlenecks arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the risks of relying too heavily on Chinese suppliers.

“Trade should work for the common good and help set responsible standards on labor, the environment, and other priorities that reflect American values,” Tai says in excerpts of her speech provided in advance to reporters. “It should also promote fair and healthy cooperation that lifts up workers and communities.”

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