U.S. - China Relations Post Elections

We have yet to discover who will lead the country. While we all have a lot in our minds these days, as someone who closely follows international affairs, I thought to write a limited and brief prediction on the next chapter of U.S. – China relations and what U.S. companies must do while there is still time to help our country remain globally competitive.

First, what can we expect on U.S. – China relations under a Trump or Biden presidency. Should Trump win we will continue to see much of the same if not escalated tensions between the two nations. The past has paved the way for potential future regulatory changes and sanctions. For the international trade community of trade attorneys and compliance officers this means is to continue setting the alerts and staying on top of any new developments. Businesses likewise will need to do the same and work closely with compliance and trade counsel to move at the pace of any developments in trade relations that will affect their international business transactions and domestic ones especially as it relates to compliance with export controls, tariffs, and sanctions.

Should Biden win, it is doubtful that much will change in the relationship between the two countries this based on what has taken place in the campaign trail. Should, however, a milder approach develop foreign policy toward China, I’m suspicious this may be the case, but let’s suppose that it might, the international trade community and businesses will not put a stop to their diligence rather will continue to pay attention to changes in policy and regulatory developments following a potential diversion from precedent. Also, under a Biden administration foreign trade policy with China would and could lead to amendments in regulatory framework. Brace to be on alert for trade relations will be central to either presidency.

The tensions between the two countries have arisen primarily, generally, out of legitimate concerns to protect U.S. interests from being absorbed or exploited by the People’s Republic of China. The United States has taken many steps as evidenced by the trade war between the two countries. What hasn’t been addressed in full, however, is a vision of how we are to remain competitive globally while China continues to expand globally. This requires a greater participation by the business community. 

For this reason I want to conclude with these thoughts as to what the American business community must do to help our country remain competitive. The developments of the past years indicate that we see China as an adversary. Many issues that our country has addressed are relevant. United States, our country, rightfully wants to keep and maintain its competitive and comparative advantage. Regulation alone will not do it. Innovation alone will not do it. U.S. businesses large and small need to wake up to the proposition that if United States is to maintain the global competitive and comparative advantage, American businesses, especially high tech businesses, as part of their growth strategy while thinking to develop and grow locally must simultaneously think of diversifying their global supply chain and expanding their operations globally. We cannot afford to shrink and play only on our backyard when our greatest competitor China is expanding their operations globally. 

A competitor and adversary like the People’s Republic of China to be defeated requires not only foreign policy, regulations, and other measures the Government entities are taking and will continue to take but it also requires the community of American businesses to commit to expand globally if United States is to remain a global power for the years to come. Otherwise, as global expert Jonathan D.T. Ward has said “America will continue to do the dying and China will do the buying.” The time to act is now. Grow local but think to expand globally.

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