In the Anticipated Trump vs. Biden Electoral Showdown, China Faces Uncertain Futures

ByDayne Lee

Feb 13, 2024

As the specter of a Trump-Biden electoral rematch looms over the United States, the economic interplay between the world’s two superpowers finds itself at a precarious juncture. Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policies towards China in his first term have significantly strained bilateral economic relations. His potential second-term agenda, proposing a staggering 60% tariff on all Chinese imports, threatens to dismantle the $575 billion trade conduit, according to Bloomberg Economics. This drastic measure, coupled with Trump’s narrow polling edge over Joe Biden, casts a long shadow over China’s economic landscape and its beleaguered stock market.

Escalation of Trade Hostilities

The proposed tariff hike by the former president would not only decimate the trade flow but also signal a broader economic decoupling, affecting sectors from textiles to electronics where China has held global dominance. Bloomberg Economics predicts such a move could essentially erase China’s share of US imports, redirecting trade towards Southeast Asia and Mexico, while inflating costs for American companies and consumers alike.

Beyond tariffs, Trump hints at further restricting US-China investments and safeguarding America’s “essential industries” from Chinese influence, reinforcing his America-first stance. While campaign promises may not always translate into actionable policies, Trump’s track record from his first term suggests a high likelihood of implementation.

Biden’s Strategic Posture

On the other hand, while President Biden has not proposed measures as radical as Trump’s tariffs, his administration has continued to tighten the noose on China with restrictions spanning data flows to electric vehicles. Biden’s approach, although less transactional and more aligned with building coalitions among US allies, shares the underlying objective of curbing China’s technological and economic ascent.

Impact on China’s Economy

For China, grappling with a property sector meltdown and a significant loss in stock market valuation, the prospect of renewed US economic aggression comes at an inopportune time. Beijing’s efforts to stabilize relations, including planned high-level exchanges with US officials, face the risk of being overshadowed by the electoral politics of the United States.

Table: Comparative Overview of Trump and Biden’s China Strategies

Policy AreaTrump’s ProposalBiden’s Actions and Proposals
TariffsSuggests a 60% tariff on all Chinese importsMaintains existing tariffs, explores further restrictions
InvestmentPlans to restrict US-China investments in both directionsTightens rules on US investments in China, particularly in tech sectors
Technology and Supply ChainsAims to exclude China from America’s essential industriesImposes export curbs on semiconductors and chipmaking equipment, encourages domestic production
Coalition BuildingTransactional approach, focuses on bilateral dealsSeeks to build a broad coalition against China’s economic practices

Beijing’s Strategic Calculations

In Beijing, officials maintain a neutral stance on the US presidential outcome, recognizing challenges irrespective of the victor. Trump’s unpredictability and transactional diplomacy contrast with Biden’s more systematic efforts to unite allies against China. Yet, both administrations align on the broader strategy to “exclude and contain China’s development.”

Market Reactions and Global Implications

Investors, already jittery from Trump’s tariff threats, are bracing for potential market turbulence reminiscent of his first term. The unfolding US electoral drama, with its profound implications for China and global trade, underscores the interconnectedness of global economies and the far-reaching impact of national policies.

As the US electoral cycle intensifies, the overarching narrative points to a complex interplay of economic policies, geopolitical strategies, and the shifting balance of power on the global stage. Whether through tariffs, investment restrictions, or strategic alliances, the outcome of the Trump-Biden rematch promises significant ramifications for China, setting the stage for a pivotal moment in international relations.

Featured image credit: Below the Sky via Shutterstock

Dayne Lee

I have a background that includes experience as a day trader in the financial sector before transitioning into my current role as an editor. My focus is on ensuring our stories are accurate and engaging for our readers, and I enjoy collaborating with our writers to provide the best news coverage possible. This journey from finance to writing has been both challenging and rewarding.