WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sees “every indication” that a high-ranking delegation of Chinese officials will visit Washington early in the administration of President-elect Joe Biden, a top Chamber official said on Wednesday.
Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs for the business group, told reporters such a visit could help lay the groundwork for improved U.S.-China relations and progress toward an expanded trade agreement.
“There are some challenges that we have to overcome in the relationship, and it’s not going to be a straight line. It’s going to be a bumpy road ahead,” he said.
Brilliant gave no details and said he would not speculate on a possible date for the visit.
He said the Chamber would urge Biden and his top trade officials to offer some immediate relief to U.S. companies and farmers from nearly $400 billion in tariffs imposed on imports from China and elsewhere by the Trump administration, especially given the need to bolster the U.S. economy.
“We need to see both sides send early signs (and take) positive steps to defuse the growing tensions in the relationship,” he said, adding that Chinese officials and people in the incoming administration understood the need to find some common ground on global issues, including climate change.
“Every indication is that there will a high-level visit early in the administration,” he said, adding that the Chamber would continue pressing for structural reform and increased accountability by China.
A Biden transition team spokesman declined to comment on the prospects for a high-level visit by Chinese officials.
Brilliant said he expected the Biden administration to move rapidly to settle a long-standing dispute with the European Union over aircraft subsidies – which could trigger removal of tariffs hurting both sides – as it sought to rebuild relations with Europe.
Brilliant said the Chamber would also object to any moves by the Trump administration to impose additional tariffs in the final days before Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.