Then-Vice President Joe Biden and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a press conference in Singapore, July 26, 2013 (AP photo by Bryan van der Beek).

Although President Donald Trump has not conceded the United States presidential election and is mounting multiple dubious legal challenges to the results, President-elect Joe Biden is moving ahead with the transition. While Biden did not focus on Southeast Asia during his time as vice president from 2009 until 2017, he probably has more extensive foreign policy experience than any incoming president in decades, save perhaps George H. W. Bush. In addition, his policy team includes a deep bench of experts on the Asia-Pacific region. When it comes to Biden’s approach to Southeast Asia, persistent tensions in the U.S. relationship with […]

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, right, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 25, 2020 (Photo by Masanori Genko for The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR contributor Lavender Au and Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curate the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive China Note by email every week. When the huge Pacific Rim trade deal formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership was first proposed, many Chinese observers saw it as a U.S. attempt to economically contain and exclude China. They worried that, with a new, American-led trade bloc surrounding China, Chinese exports would become less attractive throughout Asia. Because of the TPP’s rigorous terms as a high-standard trade deal, […]

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire attends a press conference in Paris, June 10, 2020 (AFP Pool photo by Ludovic Marin via AP).

President-elect Joe Biden is about to inherit a trade dispute that gives him an early chance to show whether he is prepared to break not just with Donald Trump, but with the corporate-friendly trade policies championed by his Democratic predecessors. The outgoing administration is set to impose new tariffs over France’s recent decision to tax the revenue of U.S. digital giants like Facebook, Apple and Google, charging that the move discriminates against U.S. companies. For Trump, the fight is a simple matter of protecting the profits of rich American companies against what he sees as a European cash grab. Barack […]

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, right, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, center, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, in Beijing, May 1, 2019 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Once relatively staid, the global economic and trade system has been anything but since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. Though it’s been overshadowed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S.-China trade war has not been definitively resolved. In January, the two countries hit the pause button on the on again, off again dispute, which began in 2018 when Trump launched a series of tit-for-tat tariff hikes over China’s unfair trade practices, including forced technology transfers and the theft of intellectual property. After several rounds of talks stalled over the course of the following 18 months, the two […]

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, left, and Minister of Trade Tran Tuan Anh, right, next to a screen showing Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan, during the RCEP signing ceremony, Hanoi, Vietnam (AP photo by Hau Dinh).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR contributor Lavender Au and Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curate the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive China Note by email every week. Sealed at a virtual signing ceremony Sunday, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, now the world’s largest trading bloc, has been eight years in the making. It encompasses the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—and five of their major trading partners, in Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and […]

Then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at the United Auto Workers Region 1 headquarters in Warren, Mich., Sept. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

Editor’s Note: This will be Kimberly Ann Elliott’s final weekly column for World Politics Review. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Kim for all of her insights into economic policy over the past two and a half years, in which she has made sense of tumultuous trade news and offered readers a sharp, lively guide to Donald Trump’s trade wars. The World Trade Organization had plenty of problems before the United States elected an isolationist president determined to put “America first” and go it alone in 2016. Four years ago, the WTO could point to only a few […]

Then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tours a metal fabricating facility in Dunmore, Pa., July 9, 2020 (AP photo by Matt Slocum).

Donald Trump has been an unorthodox president, to say the least. Much of America and the rest of the world is hoping for a return to some semblance of normality under President-elect Joe Biden. But what might that mean on trade? The traditional take on American trade politics for decades has been that Republicans tend to be free traders while Democrats are more skeptical. Trump certainly turned that on its head. Yet after he started imposing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in imports, several polls—which obviously have to be taken with a grain of salt—showed most Americans becoming […]

An employee inspects the front end of a General Motors Chevrolet Cruze at Jamestown Industries in Youngstown, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2018 (AP photo by Tony Dejak).

Today is Election Day in the United States, when Americans will render their verdict on the presidency of Donald Trump. When Ronald Reagan was running for president in 1980, he famously asked voters to consider whether they were better off than they had been four years earlier, when his opponent, Jimmy Carter, took office. It appears from polls that many Americans will base their vote on Trump’s disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But changes to trade policy were a central part of Trump’s campaign to “make America great again,” so it’s fair to ask what Trump has delivered. Last […]

President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with NATO members in Watford, England, Dec. 4, 2019, (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

As Americans cast their ballots Tuesday, and indeed for the millions who already have, they are voting for the future not just of their own country, but of the open world that the United States helped create. A distinctive element of this global order, particularly since the fall of the Berlin Wall, has been the removal of many restrictions on cross-border flows of goods, money, ideas and even people. Under every American president since the Cold War, until Donald Trump, the United States championed global integration as a motor of prosperity, a bulwark of peace and—at least implicitly—a source of […]