Talking Trade with Asia Society Policy Institute Vice President Wendy Cutler

In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” Asia Society Policy Institute Vice President Wendy Cutler says it’s unlikely that tariffs on Chinese goods will be lifted anytime soon. 

She discusses the recent news that tariff exclusions on several hundred products have been extended for another nine months after being set to expire at the end of last year. 

“But we’re talking about 352 products out of thousands and thousands,” she said. “And so, the exclusion relief also has been pretty minimal under the Biden administration. But I do think what you’re seeing is businesses are learning how to live with these tariffs, and how to do workarounds, and how to restructure their businesses.” 

Cutler notes some vocal advocates have been urging the United States to engage more with China and “get back to the negotiating table,” but says those perspectives are now in the minority. 

“The climate in Washington is you can’t be tough enough when it comes to China,” she said. “I think there’s a sense that if we sat down at the negotiating table with them on trade, what exactly would we negotiate?” 

She explained Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear the government will continue to play a major role in the country’s economy. That includes more restrictions on data and privacy. Cutler says U.S. trade policy will focus more on boosting competitiveness while working with allies to “develop a collective response to objectionable practices” by China. 

The discussion also highlights U.S. export trends, COVID-19, China’s contracting economy and resulting efforts to improve self-reliance, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and more.