Navigating the Biden Administration's Trade Policy Amidst COVID-19 and Brexit

American flag

President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office on January 20th, 2021. This will commence a year of transition for U.S. trade policy, highlighted by the Biden-Harris plan to build broad-based supply-chain resilience and to work collaboratively with the private sector to improve productivity and avoid unnecessary costs and bureaucracy.* 

The new administration’s plan for supply chains can be summarized as follows: 

  • Work with allies to protect their supply chains and to open new markets to U.S. exports
  • Take action against competitors when they refuse to honor trade agreements
  • Deploy trade policy tools and regulations to create new markets for U.S.-made critical products

 

This plan will be implemented during uncertain times, emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the challenges of navigating relationships post-Brexit. In reference to a trade deal with the U.K. there are doubts an agreement will be announced prior to 2022**. In an interview conducted prior to the historic trade deal announced between the U.K. and E.U., Biden indicated his reluctancy to enter into a new trade agreement, “I’m not going to enter any new trade agreement with anybody until we have made major investments here at home and in our workers.”***  To appeal with Biden’s team, the U.K. is positioning a trade deal as an economic recovery tool to support both economies to build back better from COVID-19.

The nomination of Katherine Tai as U.S. Trade Representation also has obvious implications for the future trade policy of the United States. Her office will be responsible for repairing economic ties with allies, which will include whether to continue trade talks with the U.K. which were started by the previous administration.**** 

BDP will continue to monitor the trade negotiations between the United States and United Kingdom post-Brexit to help our clients with their international shipping needs. 

Alexander N. DiMeo, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law, J.D. Candidate 2021 contributed to this article. 

 *“The Biden Plan to Rebuild Supply Chains and Ensure the US Does Not Face Future Shortages of Critical Equipment. Biden-Harris for America,” Biden for President, https://joebiden.com/supplychains/
**https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/31/britain-biden-relationship-boris-johnson-451498 
***https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/02/opinion/biden-interview-mcconnell-china-iran.html 
****https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/09/biden-katherine-tai-trade-representative-444001, https://19thnews.org/2020/12/katherine-tai-trade-representative/