U.S. Trade Policy

July 16, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 25
Should Biden continue on a protectionist path?
By Stephen J. Norton


President Biden is — so far — leaving in place tariffs that his predecessor imposed on China and other trading partners and postponing action on major trade initiatives of his own. His focus is on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring the country's economic health. But as Biden looks to bolster the economy, reduce dependence on global supply chains and take the lead in international efforts to address climate change, trade policy will play an important role, directly and indirectly. With the public ambivalent about trade and populism driving opinion among some members of both parties, debates on how to shape trade policy are likely to remain contentious. Given the political risks the president faces in a deeply divided country, analysts expect Biden over the next two years to seek support for policies that will help workers and enhance the competitiveness of U.S. industries, betting this will strengthen the U.S. hand in a global marketplace increasingly dominated by China.

Satellite image of the Ever Given cargo ship blocking off the Suez Canal March27, 2021. (Getty Images/DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d)
The Ever Given cargo ship closed off global shipping traffic in the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March when it ran aground. The delays cost shippers $9.6 billion a day. (Getty Images/DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United States and Foreign Trade
Jul. 16, 2021  U.S. Trade Policy
Sep. 13, 2013  U.S. Trade Policy
Jun. 07, 1996  Rethinking NAFTA
Jan. 29, 1993  U.S. Trade Policy
Dec. 08, 1989  North America Trade Pact: a Good Idea?
Sep. 05, 1986  Trade Trouble-Shooting
Mar. 04, 1983  Global Recession and U.S. Trade
Jan. 12, 1979  Trade Talks and Protectionism
Dec. 16, 1977  Job Protection and Free Trade
May 14, 1976  International Trade Negotiations
Dec. 06, 1961  Revision of Trade and Tariff Policy
Mar. 21, 1960  European Trade Blocs and American Exports
Jan. 30, 1958  Foreign Trade Policy
Jul. 28, 1954  Foreign Trade and the National Interest
Jan. 25, 1940  Tariff Reciprocity and Trade Agreements
Jun. 11, 1935  Foreign Trade Policy of the United States
Jan. 25, 1934  Foreign Trade and Currency Stability
Nov. 01, 1930  Foreign Trade of the United States
Sep. 27, 1923  Combining for the Import Trade
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Congress Actions
Consumer Behavior
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
Economic Crises
Economic Development
Employee Benefits
Export Sanctions and Restrictions
Exports and Imports
Financial Institutions
General Employment and Labor
General International Relations
General Social Trends
Import Quotas and Customs
Infectious Diseases
International Economic Development
International Law and Agreements
Labor Standards and Practices
Manufacturing and Industrial Production
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Outsourcing and Immigration
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Regulation and Deregulation
Retail Trade
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Unions and Labor-Management Relations
World Trade Organization (WTO)