On March 1, 2023, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released President Biden’s 2023 Trade Policy Agenda and 2022 Annual Report. According to the report, the 2023 trade agenda will prioritize creating new opportunities for American workers and families, supporting the middle class, driving decarbonization, and creating good-paying jobs. Additionally, the agenda will focus on strengthening relationships with allies and partners and reinforcing critical supply chains to withstand shocks and defend democratic values, given the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The annual report notes that the USTR in 2022 implemented the Biden administration’s trade vision by establishing “historic trade arrangements” with the European Union and Kenya, as well as launching new trade initiatives. One such initiative is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a trade framework with 13 Indo-Pacific region countries that represent collectively 40% of global GDP. See Update of September 9, 2022. Another initiative is the U.S.-Taiwan 21st Century Trade Initiative, which aims to deepen economic and cultural ties between the two countries. Lastly, the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP) was announced in June 2022. This initiative aims to drive economic growth, promote shared prosperity and address critical issues shaping the region’s future. See Update of January 30, 2023.
The report focuses on strengthening supply chains, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine exposed the risks associated with concentrated supply chains, certain geopolitical sourcing decisions and an overreliance on China for critical technologies. President Biden signed Executive Order 14017 to address these supply chain challenges and conducted a 100-day review of four priority product areas: semiconductors, large capacity batteries, critical minerals and materials, and pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. See Update of June 11, 2021.
The report provides a detailed review of the “complex and competitive” U.S.-China trade relationship and efforts to ensure that China competes fairly. It highlights that the United States has taken significant steps to “re-align” the relationship and address the challenges posed by China’s trade practices and policies, including the use of forced labor, intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer from U.S. companies, and unfair subsidies to Chinese companies. The report notes that the United States has imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods in response to these practices, and that the USTR continues to work with allies to coordinate responses to China’s trade practices. Ultimately, the report states, the “USTR will continue a targeted tariff exclusions process to ensure that our economic interests are being served, and we will keep open the option of further tariff exclusions processes as warranted.” Overall, the report suggests that the United States will consider “all existing tools—and will potentially seek new ones as needed—to combat the harms of China’s state-led, non-market practices.”
Regarding Russia, the report does not discuss U.S.-Russia trade relations but repeatedly notes how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine negatively impacted international trade and supply chains. For example, the USTR indicates that U.S. engagement in Eurasia in 2022 was “largely shaped by Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. As a result of Russia’s actions, the United States, working with its partners and allies, has imposed severe and immediate costs on Russia through sanctions, export controls, and tariff increases. In addition, the United States has ceased direct engagement with Russia on trade and investment issues.”
A fact sheet outlining other key highlights of the annual report is available here.