Fri, 26 Feb 2021

Washington [US], January 27 (ANI): Former US President Donald Trump's aggressive stance on China is set to continue as President Joe Biden's nominee who will head the US Department of Commerce Gina Raimondo told the Senate on Tuesday that she will be very aggressive against China's unfair trade practices.

"China's actions have been anti-competitive, hurtful to American workers and businesses, coercive and ... culpable for atrocious human rights abuses, so whether it's the 'entity list' or tariffs or countervailing duties, I intend to use all those tools to the fullest extent possible," Raimondo testified during her confirmation hearing in the Senate as quoted by South China Morning Post (SCMP).

"Having said that, China has clearly behaved in ways that are anti-competitive, dumping cheap steel and aluminum into America, which hurts American workers and hurts the ability of our companies to compete," Raimondo added as quoted by The Washington Post and continued, "So should I be confirmed, I plan to be very aggressive to help Americans compete against the unfair practices of China."According to The Washington Post, Raimondo said she believes that the Commerce Department needs not only to "play defense" against China but also to "play offense" by doing more to promote US technology, including by getting more involved in the global organisations that set tech standards.

Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary during the former President Donald Trump's administration, put Huawei on an "entity list" in May 2019, citing national security concerns, a move that prevented US suppliers from selling goods and technology to the company without a special licence.

When Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, demanded an assurance that Raimondo would not remove Huawei from the list, the nominee committed only to "review the policy, consult with you, consult with industry, consult with our allies and make an assessment as to what's best for American national and economic security".

SCMP reported further that Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, questioning Raimondo's stance, called it ridiculous.

"This is ridiculous," Sasse said in a statement. "Huawei didn't change because America has a new president. Huawei is still the Chinese Communist Party's tech puppet and a serious threat to national security... Tough talk on China is empty if you let Huawei out of the box," he added.

Raimondo told Cruz and other senators questioning her a commitment to safeguarding against possible national security threats posed by the use of Chinese telecommunications equipment.

"There's an opportunity to move forward in 5G and create great innovation and jobs, but we can't have the Chinese or really anyone having a back door into our network and compromising in any way our national or economic security," she said.

"I will use the full toolkit at my disposal to the fullest extent possible to protect Americans and our network from Chinese interference or any kind of back door influence into our network, and that's Huawei, ZTE, or any other company," she added.

According to SCMP, Biden administration officials less than a week into his tenure have suggested that the President will not diverge substantially from the view that Beijing presents a threat to US national security.

Antony Blinken, who was confirmed by the Senate as the new US Secretary of State on Tuesday said last week that he agreed with Trump on a "tougher approach to China".

"I disagree very much with the way that he went about it in a number of areas, but the basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy," he said as quoted by SCMP.

Biden is committed to stopping China's economic abuses on many fronts, said the White House on Monday adding that the most effective way in doing so is by "working in coordination" with allies.

"Well, as is the case with other areas of our relationship with China, he will take a multilateral approach to engage with China, and that includes evaluating the tariffs currently in place. And he wants to ensure that we take any steps in coordination with our allies and partners, and with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, told CNN, earlier this month, that the new administration recognises China as a serious strategic competitor to the US.

Sullivan also said Biden would work out the economic differences between the US and its European allies to improve their relations and jointly counter China on multiple fronts, from trade and technology to the military and human rights.

"Our goal is to go out right away and sit down not just on the question of China, but to work out the economic differences that we have so that we can end the multifront trade war that the Trump administration started," Sullivan said on CNN.

Trump had directed departments and agencies' laws, regulations and policies to minimise the procurement of Chinese goods.

According to an official statement by Robert C O'Brien, then-National Security Advisor, "Today, President Donald J. Trump directed departments and agencies to review applicable laws, regulations, and policies and to propose regulatory and policy changes, including potential executive actions, to minimize the procurement of People's Republic of China (PRC) goods and services by the Federal Government."Under the Donald Trump administration, ties between the two countries had deteriorated over issues such as human rights violations in Xinjiang, encroachment on the special status of Hong Kong, accusations of unfair trade practices by Beijing, lack of transparency concerning the pandemic and China's military aggression in various parts of the world. (ANI)

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