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Election won’t shift US-China relations: Myers

ANZ Insights

2024-03-27 00:00

The geopolitical tensions between the United States and China that have shaped the state of modern trade and supply chains are unlikely to ease regardless of who wins the upcoming US election in November, according to a US policy expert.

Speaking to the ANZ Debt Conference in March, Charles Myers, Chairman & Founder of advisory group Signum Global, said suggestions any one of the candidates - presumptively the incumbent Democrat Joe Biden, and Republican and former President Donald Trump - would be better than the other for US-China relations were off base.

“I think the net direction of travel in the bilateral US-China [post November] only gets worse,” he said.

According to Myers, “any notion [Trump is] going to be better for US-China” is one he “would totally disagree with”, although he doesn’t “think Biden's going to be good either”.

He rejected the idea Trump would approach China as “a businessperson, and he's transactional, and he will want to improve relations”.

“I think that's wishful thinking,” Myers said, noting Trump’s role in stoking trade tensions between the two economies when he was President, including through technology restrictions that predate the CHIPS and Science Act.  

Myers made the comments in conversation with Cameron Mitchell, Head of Geopolitical Risk at ANZ. You can watch edited highlights of the discussion below.


Myers described a US government under a re-elected Biden as “relatively straightforward” and categorised by “continuity”.

“Whether you rate President Biden or you rate the administration… this is a very high-functioning technocratic government, just objectively,” he said.

A key Biden policy priority would be a CHIPS 2.0 Act, Myers said.

“I think we'll see more of an emphasis on securing our supply chains, more on these national security issues, and some legislative work around that,” he said.

The implications of a second Trump presidency would be “much more interesting,” Myers said - including in regard to the country’s relationship with NATO, and proposed 10 per cent tariffs on imported goods.

In February, Trump suggested he could potentially impose tariffs of more than 60 per cent on Chinese goods coming into the US. Myers took a sceptical view of this idea.

“Not going to happen,” the expert told ANZ’s conference. “It’d be instantly inflationary.”

Myers also touched on how Trump 2.0’s domestic policy approach would impact the US - and global - energy market. You can watch the video above to find out more. 

Election won’t shift US-China relations: Myers
Staff Writer
ANZ Insights
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