US Is Right to Accept China Won’t Change Its Mercantilist Practices. Biden Administration Must Focus on Helping US Firms Compete, Says ITIF

October 4, 2021

WASHINGTON—Following reports that U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is expected to condemn China's "unfair trade practices" during remarks today in Washington, DC, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from Robert D. Atkinson, ITIF’s president:

The administration is making the right decision to pivot its trade and competition strategy with China to focus less on trying to change China’s policies and more on limiting the damage to the U.S. economy.

China has become too powerful, both economically and technologically, for the United States to have a realistic chance of pressuring it into changing its behavior—even with the help of strategic partners. That window closed around 2010 when U.S. policymakers and pundits still assumed that China would liberalize.

Now the West has to accept China for what it is: an unreconstructed innovation mercantilist. The Biden administration is taking an important step in the right direction by accepting this and focusing on helping U.S. firms compete more effectively with policies like the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act while improving trade measures to defend against China’s economic and trade aggression.

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US Is Right to Accept China Won’t Change Its Mercantilist Practices. Biden Administration Must Focus on Helping US Firms Compete, Says ITIF