The on-again, off-again trade relationship between the world’s two economic powerhouses isn’t a marriage made in heaven. Incoming US President Joe Biden recognizes the urgency of reaching consensus with his country’s most powerful commercial rival, despite his list of thorny issues to address with China. How successfully Biden handles this hot potato is yet to be seen, but US-China relations are too important to be put on the back burner.
Throughout the past four decades, despite their differences, the United States and China have found a way to get along through a symbiotic trade relationship that maximizes their competitive advantages. Recent US concerns about national security and China’s dominance in manufacturing have strained relations, but now more than ever, with the pandemic threatening to unravel years of economic progress, the world’s two largest economies need to pull together.