U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said on Monday the United States needed to negotiate with allies to set global trading rules to counter China’s growing influence but declined to say whether he would join a new China-backed Asian trade pact signed on Sunday.
Asked at a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware, whether the United States would join the Asian-focused 15-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, Biden said he could not yet discuss U.S. trade policy because he had not taken office “and there’s only one president at a time.”
“We make up 25% … of the economy in the world,” Biden said of the United States. “We need to be aligned with the other democracies, another 25% or more so that we can set the rules of the road instead of having China and others dictate outcomes because they are the only game in town.”
The signing of the RCEP at a regional summit in Hanoi creates the world’s largest trade agreement, covering 30% of the global economy and 30% of the global population, joining for the first time Asian powers China, Japan and South Korea.