Round Table on Changes in Economic Policy of US Administration after Presidential Elections

On December 7, 2020, RISS hosted a round table on the changes in the economic policy of the US administration after the presidential elections and expected consequences for the global economic system

In its course the experts discussed the question of how the policy of the newly elected US President Democrat Joe Biden will differ from the "America First" agenda implemented by Donald Trump.

The event was attended by: chief RISS analyst V. Milovidov, leading experts A. Glazova, P. Zakharov, S. Karataev, D. Lyzhin, senior expert I. Bazhenov, and expert E. Kramarova. They discussed the prospects of US foreign economic policy, relations with foreign countries (primarily China and the European Union), energy and climate issues, the development of infrastructure projects, as well as the development of the digital economy. One of the significant issues raised during the round table was the correlation of elements of economic nationalism and globalism in the current and future course of Washington.

Most experts concluded that Biden's statements about denying Trump's legacy and the need to return to the days of "normality" are largely declarative. It is impossible to completely erase everything done by the Republican president and "transfer" back to the time of Obama due to the changed circumstances. In particular, a liberal interpretation of foreign trade and a return to the previous course of relations with foreign countries will be problematic in the view of raising popularity of economic nationalism. It exists not only in the United States, but also in the other states affected by the coronavirus crisis, and were expressed, for example, in numerous restrictions on the international supply of medical goods, medicines and equipment.

In many aspects of US economic policy, either the succession of the course of the two last presidents is expected or the absence of drastic changes in its nature. Trump has already left a certain legacy, expressed in trade agreements with foreign countries (for example, Canada and Mexico) and conflicts with others (for example, China). Biden is unlikely to be able and willing to completely reconsider the nature of these relations, since many of the decisions made were based on the objective interests of the United States and the request from society.

In recent years, America has become more focused on protecting its own market and producers from "unfair" foreign competition. It is expected that in the energy sector, the implementation of already started projects for the production and export of hydrocarbons, in particular, the supply of LNG to foreign markets, will continue. Experts predict increased competition for a share in the European energy market, as well as possible negative consequences for Russia, whose economy is heavily dependent on hydrocarbon exports.

According to RISS experts, under Biden, the implementation of a hard course towards China will continue. The complete removal of all barriers imposed by Trump during the trade war is unlikely to happen. Moreover, the White House may impose new sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals under the pretext of violating human rights and refusing to fight climate change.

At the same time, there are also obvious differences between some elements of Biden's future policy and the course implemented by Trump. First of all, they will address climate issues — Democrats are proposing tough measures to combat greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate goals around the world. At the same time, Trump is a "climate sceptic", aimed at the development of traditional hydrocarbons (oil, gas, coal).

Also, changes are expected in the nature of relations with countries allied to the United States — it is possible to remove some of the trade restrictions measures against them. In general, Washington's policy will be aimed at strengthening relations with friendly states (primarily Europe, as well as Canada, Japan, etc.) to create a united front in the fight against China. It is that increased attention to the ideological component of American foreign policy will take place, as well as the implementation of economic measures and sanctions against foreign countries under the pretext of human rights violations. In general, under Biden, there will be a greater emphasis on the US struggle for ideological leadership around the world and the promotion of "American values", which was not a priority for Trump.

USA elections