Commerce Chief Says Biden Plan Boosts U.S.’s Ability to Compete

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said President Joe Biden’s spending plans are focused on bolstering U.S. competitiveness on the global stage, especially with China.

His jobs plan “is all about competing with China: improve our education system, improve our infrastructure, invest in manufacturing,” she said in an interview with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television Thursday. “The way to compete with China is to run faster, to invest in America.”

Commerce Chief Says Biden Plan Boosts U.S.’s Ability to Compete

The commerce chief also said there is a “sense of optimism” that an expansive bill to bolster U.S. economic competitiveness and confront China’s rise will pass on the Senate floor as early as Thursday night.

As part of the bill, the U.S. would plow more than $100 billion into research and development and provide $52 billion to strengthen domestic manufacturing of semiconductors, whose shortage has idled production plans and upended the supply of goods.

The money would help to build “another six or seven” semiconductor plants in the U.S., Raimondo said, “so we won’t be so vulnerable to relying overly on one company or one country.”

Regarding the Biden administration’s review of the U.S. strategy on China, Raimondo said it’s “an ongoing process more than a process with a particular big announcement or deadline.”

The world’s two biggest economies reached a partial trade deal in 2020, but still have tariffs on billions of dollars in trade in place, and China has never met the purchase commitments it made in that pact.

Ties between the countries have deteriorated over the past year on multiple fronts, including U.S. allegations of forced labor in China’s western Xinjiang region; Beijing’s threats against Taiwan; the crackdown in Hong Kong; and maritime disputes.

“In terms of defense, we haven’t slowed down,” Raimondo said, explaining that her department keeps adding companies to the so-called entity list, which requires American suppliers to get U.S. government licenses if they plan to sell their technology to a business on that list. “We’re going to do what we need to do to protect American industry.”

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