On The Hill

Trade Update (November 12)

Nov 15, 2021 | SHARE  

Biden-Xi Meeting  

On Friday (Nov. 12), the White House announced President Biden will meet virtually with China’s President Xi Jinping on Monday (Nov. 15). The two leaders are expected to discuss a potential military conflict over Taiwan.[1] 

“[Biden and Xi] will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition between the United States and the PRC, as well as ways to work together where our interests align…Throughout, President Biden will make clear U.S. intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns with the PRC.” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. 

The goal of the summit is to alleviate building tension and come to a mutual understanding over Taiwan and technology disputes. Lower-level talks have not been successful, but the two leaders are interested in easing the strained relations.  

Admin Addresses Supply Chains 

On Tuesday (Nov. 9), Biden-Harris Administration announced The Biden-⁠Harris Action Plan for America’s Ports and Waterways, which will utilize $17 billion in funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. The plan outlined the fundamental efforts that will be taken in order to achieve increased efficacy and investment in the nation’s ports, waterways, and freight networks:

  • Immediate Actions
    • Support creative solutions to current supply chain disruptions by allowing for flexibility in port grants.
    • Alleviate congestion at the Port of Savannah by funding the Georgia Port Authority pop-up container yards project.
  • Further Near-Term Actions
    • Launch programs to modernize ports and marine highways with more than $240 million in grant funding within the next 45 days.
    • Identify projects for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction at coastal ports and inland waterways within the next 60 days.
    • Prioritize key ports of entry for modernization and expansion within the next 90 days.
    • Open competition for the first round of port infrastructure grants funded through the bipartisan infrastructure deal within 90 days. 
  • Additional Freight Investments
    • Develop a comprehensive freight movement playbook to states.
    • Incorporate the best worldwide freight planning practices into state freight plans.
  • Data Sharing to Support Supply Chains
    • Call for new data standards for goods movement.[2]

China’s Trade Surplus 

On Sunday (Nov. 7), Beijing reported that their exports rose in October as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Their customs agency said that their exports topped $300.2 billion, up 27.1 percent from a year ago.[3] 

China also imported $215.7 billion worth of goods, an increase of 20.6 percent.  

For October, Beijing’s trade surplus comes in at $84.5 billion, an increase of $17.7 billion from September.  

U.S.-Japan Talk Steel 

On Friday (Nov. 12), the Biden administration began bilateral conversations with Japan regarding the global supply of steel and aluminum. The two countries hope to address concerns regarding non-market actors in the industry and duties the U.S. imposes.[4] 

“The distortions that result from this excess capacity pose a serious threat to the market-oriented U.S. steel and aluminum industries and the workers in those industries…The United States and Japan have a historic alliance, built on mutual trust and respect, and reflecting shared values and a strong commitment to resolving global challenges through closer cooperation,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. 

Raimondo stated that it is unclear what a resolution will look like, but she is hopeful that a solution will be agreed to soon. 

Senate Finance  

On Tuesday (Nov. 16), the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of the Honorable Maria Louise Lago, of New York, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Lisa W. Wang, of the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce.  

To watch the hearing, click here.  

House Ways and Means  

On Wednesday (Nov. 17), the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade will hold a hearing entitled, “Strengthening The U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Relationship.”  

To watch the hearing, click here.  

House Agriculture  

On Wednesday (Nov. 17), the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture will hold a hearing entitled, “Trade Policy and Priorities.”  

To watch the hearing, click here


[1] Leonard, Jenny, “Biden, Xi to Talk Monday in Bid to Ease Tension Between Rivals” 12 Nov. 21, https://www.bgov.com/core/news/#!/articles/R2GSRNT0G1KW

[2] The White House, “FACT SHEET: The Biden-⁠Harris Action Plan for America’s Ports and Waterways” 9 Nov. 21, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/11/09/fact-sheet-the-biden-harris-action-plan-for-americas-ports-and-waterways/

[3] Associated Press, “China’s exports stay strong, trade surplus tops $80 billion” 7 Nov. 21 https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/chinas-exports-stay-strong-trade-surplus-hits-84-81019254

[4] Martin, Eric, “U.S., Japan to Start Steel, Aluminum Talks Over Excess Capacity” 12 Nov. 21, https://www.bgov.com/core/news/#!/articles/R2H6X1DWLU6Y


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