In a country currently dominated by intense polarization at various levels, there is one issue around which Republicans and Democrats meet, which is the policy towards China, which, in the opinion of experts, can only become more stringent whether Republican Trump returns to the White House or Democrat Joe Biden remains there for a second term.

“I think the pressure can only go in one direction in Washington, toward more aggression” toward China, said Joshua Meltzer, a researcher at the Brookings Institution.

Upon his arrival to the White House in 2021, Biden maintained the severe customs duties imposed by his predecessor, and added to them a series of targeted measures that reduced Beijing’s access to advanced technology, especially in the field of some electronic chips, and limited American investments in this country.

In parallel, the US administration has encouraged the transfer of corporate activities to the United States, and officials are also seeking to enhance self-sufficiency in basic areas, including clean energy supplies.

"There is currently pressure in Congress to go further," Meltzer told AFP.

Although the two parties agree on the broad lines, they differ regarding the approach to be followed, as explained by Jamison Greer, a lawyer at the international office of King & Spalding.

The former representative for trade in the White House during the Trump era said that there are those on the one hand who consider that China poses an existential threat to the United States, whether on the economic or security levels, and on the other hand there are those who warn against exaggerating the size of the Chinese threat, which will lead to... Consequences that harm trade and the economy.

Include partners or isolate

But regardless of the differences, both sides consider that China poses risks, a trend that has dominated both parties for about ten years.

Jamison Greer said, "This escalated during the 2016 presidential election campaign, when candidate Donald Trump publicly addressed trade issues, specifically China."

He added that Trump spoke out about something that many people “agreed on on both sides” without expressing it.

Joshua Meltzer said that Joe Biden does not expect “to reach an agreement with China under which it will undertake these major reforms and changes,” but rather his administration will seek to “adapt to the reality of China” and “to include allies in it,” while working to “reduce risks from a security standpoint as well.” ".

On the other hand, the researcher considered that Trump would intend to increase pressure on China to force it to develop its position, which is consistent with the approach he followed during his presidential term and with the trade agreement he concluded with China in light of the escalation over his severe customs duties.

Trump, who is likely to win the Republican nomination for the White House, has already announced that he intends to impose customs duties of 60 percent, an increase that is expected to be met with a Chinese response, which, according to experts, threatens to paralyze trade between the world's top two economic powers.

“I think we will see a much greater return to tax duties, and I think we will also see much less cooperation with allies,” Joshua Meltzer warned, adding that “the United States will be much more isolated on some of these issues.”

"Limitations in technology"

As for Joe Biden, it is expected that, if he wins a second term, he will continue his current policy of taking targeted measures, in exchange for strengthening cooperation with China on issues such as climate change and creating a greater margin for negotiation with the disappearance of the pressure of the election campaign, which pushes him to appear in a tough position in order to avoid criticism from the camp. Trump.

Whatever the outcome of the election, the next president will seek to maintain American technological superiority.

“The US government will maintain restrictions in the field of technology and will even add to them” restrictions in other areas such as biotechnology, electric cars and smart cars, said Paul Triolo, an expert on China issues at the Albright Stonebridge Group consulting firm.

But the Trump administration, if he wins, may make less efforts to resettle semiconductor production centers in the United States, as well as to allocate major investments in the local production of electric cars and in sensitive supply chains.

Triolo pointed out that restrictions may also include transferring data to companies or organizations based in China.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said last month that Chinese electric cars pose a security risk due to the amount of data they collect.