Former Vice President Joe Biden said he would not keep the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on Chinese goods if elected president, criticizing the White House for going after the economic rival "in the wrong way."
In an interview with National Public Radio on Aug. 5, Biden said President Donald Trump's trade policies regarding China has pushed the U.S. manufacturing industry into a recession and caused the agriculture sector to bleed "billions of dollars that taxpayers had to pay."
Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, said China must play by international trade rules and its intellectual property theft and other practices have "got to end." But the U.S. should take a multilateral approach in dealing with the Asian superpower, he added.
"The way China will respond is when we gather the rest of the world that in fact engages in open trade. ... That's when things begin to change. That's when China's behavior is going to change," Biden said.
Biden said the U.S. has "disarmed" itself for hitting trade partners with tariffs. "We make up 25% of the world's economy, but we poked our finger in the eye of all of our allies out there."
Biden made the comments ahead of the reported high-level talks between the U.S. and Chinese officials planned for Aug. 15 to evaluate an interim trade agreement struck early this year.
The U.S. and China paused their trade conflict in January with the signing of a "phase one" agreement that includes Beijing's pledge to purchase more than $200 billion of additional American products and services over the next two years. Trump had said that tariffs imposed on some Chinese goods would remain in place to provide the U.S. with leverage in the negotiations for a "phase two" trade deal.
A June report from the American Action Forum, a pro-trade think tank, found that the value of U.S. imports from China subject to additional tariffs in 2019 was $334.2 billion and that tariffs cost U.S. consumers $52.9 billion in that span.