Timeline of Trade Policy in the Biden Administration (2021–present)

Note: This timeline intends to provide a complete list of trade actions taken by the Biden administration since day one (January 20, 2021) in the categories of:

  •  Policy document: includes all proclamations, announcements, decisions, and official reports released by the White House and government agencies under the executive branch (such as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative).
  • Trade remedy measures: includes all policy actions taken under the U.S. trade remedy laws, such as anti-dumping, countervailing duty, safeguard measures, and Section 301 investigation. 
  • Trade agreement: includes the negotiation, modification, and termination of any U.S. free trade agreement and trade preference programs.
  • Textiles and Apparel: policy issues directly related to the textile and apparel sector
  • WTO: includes the using of any exciting WTO mechanisms and any WTO-related trade actions.

All entries are documented with official links provided–however, I don’t track Trump’s tweets. I hope the timeline can provide a fact-based record useful to industry professionals and scholars. All suggestions and advice are more than welcome (Email: shenglu@udel.edu).

Suggested Citation: Lu, Sheng. (2021). Timeline of trade policy in the Biden administration. Retrieved from https://shenglufashion.com/timeline-of-trade-policy-in-the-biden-administration/

Disclaimer: All posts on this site are for FASH455 educational and academic research purposes only, and they are nonpolitical and nonpartisan. No blog post intends to either favor or oppose any particular political party nor shall be interpreted that way.

(updated: May 2021)

5 May 2021: United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai released a statement announcing the Biden-Harris Administration’s support for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. The statement says the the United States will “actively participate in text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO)” regarding waving the IPR for COVID vaccines. The current WTO agreement—the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS, provides patent protection to technological innovations, including drugs and vaccines. [WTO] 

30 April 2021: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released its annual Special 301 Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. This annual report details USTR’s findings of more than 100 trading partners, including the problem of counterfeit apparel products made in China, Turkey, Guatemala, and Peru. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures] [WTO] [Textiles and apparel]

22 April 2021: The Biden administration released its US International Climate Finance Plan. As part of the plan, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) will “identify ways to significantly increase, as per its mandate, its support for environmentally beneficial, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage exports from the United States.” [Policy document]

16 April 2021: The Biden administration released its first Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners (April 2021). The report removed Vietnam and Switzerland from the “currency manipulator”, reversing the Trump administration’s December 2020 decision. China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Ireland, Italy, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Mexico were on the monitoring list. Analysts say the report reveals the Biden administration’s intention to de-escalate trade tensions with US allies. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures]

31 March 2021: The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) released its 2021 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report. Most trade barriers facing U.S. textile and apparel products in the foreign markets concentrate on high tariffs, rules of origin documentation requirements and licencing requirements. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures] [WTO] [Textiles and apparel]

29 March 2021: The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced to seize disposable gloves produced in Malaysia by Top Glove Corporation Bhd based on a forced labor finding. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures] [Textiles and apparel]

29 March 2021: In response to the military coup, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced to suspend all US engagement with Myanmar under the 2013 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA),“until the return of a democratically elected government.” The suspension does NOT mean the US is banning or prohibiting imports from Myanmar. However, should US Congress renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which expired in December 2020, Myanmar could be excluded from the benefits. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures]

26 March 2021: The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) proposed to impose an up to 25 percent punitive tariffs on imports from  AustraliaIndiaItalySpainTurkey and the United Kingdom in response to their planned digital service tax (DST) targeting US companies. The proposal covers several textile and apparel products (HS Chapters 50-63) from these six countries, including:

  • Austria: 5209.12.00, 5402.49.91, 5404.19.10, 5404.19.80, 5603.94.10, 5603.94.90
  • India: 5109.90.90, 6212.10.50
  • Italy: all 8-digit codes under 6103, 6104, 6110, 6117,6203,6204,6211,6215
  • Spain: no textile and apparel products covered
  • Turkey: all 8-digit codes under 5702, 5703, 6302 and 6303.91.00
  • UK: 6104.43.20, 6201.12.20, 6201.92.45, 6202.12.20, 6202.13.40,6202.92.90, 6204.43.40, 6204.44.40, 6204.49.10, 6205.20.20, 6215.10.00

Before taking action, USTR will accept public comments until the end of April 2021 and announce its decision by May 2021. Meanwhile, USTR also announced to terminate the DST investigation against Brazil, the Czech Republic, the European Union, and Indonesia. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures] [Textiles and apparel]

18 March 2021: Katherine C. Tai was officially sworn in as the US Trade Representative.

10 March 2021: The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced to extend the exclusion of PPE and medical-care products related to COVID-19 from Section 301 punitive tariffs against Chinese products. The exclusion covers a limited category of textile and apparel products, including 9903.88.64 (cover 5603.12.0090, 5603.14.0090, 5603.92.0090, 5603.93.0090), 9903.88.65 (5210.11.4040, 5210.11.6020, 5504.10.0000, 6210.10.5010, 6210.10.5090). The extension will be effective from 1 April to 30 September 2021. [Policy documents] [Trade remedy measures] [Textiles and apparel]

5 March 2021: The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced to suspend airbus dispute 25% retaliatory tariffs on European Union’s products starting from 5 March 2021 for four months (i.e., around 4 July 2021). USTR says the suspension would “allow time to focus on negotiating a balanced settlement to the disputes, and begin seriously addressing the challenges posed by new entrants to the civil aviation market from non-market economies, such as China.” Meanwhile, the UK had ceased applying retaliatory tariffs in the Boeing dispute from 1 January 2021. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures]

4 March 2021: The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced to suspend airbus dispute retaliatory tariffs on UK’s products starting from 4 March 2021 for four months (i.e., around 4 July 2021). The 25% retaliatory tariffs apply to several apparel exports (such as sweaters) from the UK to the US. USTR says the suspension would “allow time to focus on negotiating a balanced settlement to the disputes, and begin seriously addressing the challenges posed by new entrants to the civil aviation market from non-market economies, such as China.” Meanwhile, the UK had ceased applying retaliatory tariffs in the Boeing dispute from 1 January 2021. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures] [Textiles and apparel]

1 March 2021: The Biden administration released its 2021 President’s Trade Agenda and 2020 Annual Report. Revealing the Biden administration’s worker-centric trade policy, the report calls for “putting workers at the center of trade policy.” Related, the report says the Biden Administration will seek to understand better “the projected impact of proposed trade policies on communities of color and to ensure those impacts are considered before pursuing such policies.” The report further confirms Biden’s emphasis on climate change and says his trade agenda will “include the negotiation and implementation of strong environmental standards that are also critical to a sustainable climate pathway.” Additionally, the report says the Biden administration will “make it a top priority to address the widespread human rights abuses in China” and use the WTO to engage friends and allies. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures] [WTO]

24 February 2021: The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region WRO Frequently Asked Questions web page. The page clarifies the scope of the Withhold Release Orders(WROs) against cotton made in Xinjiang, proof of admissibility, and due diligence. [Policy document] [Trade remedy measures] [Textiles and apparel]

24 February 2021: In an executive order (EO) released today, President Biden announced to conduct a 100-day supply chains review on several key US industries, including semiconductors, batteries, strategic minerals, and pharmaceuticals. The review will also cover certain critical business sectors, such as national defense, public health, information and communication technology, energy, transportation, and agriculture. Further, the EO explicitly asks the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the heads of appropriate agencies, to submit a report identifying risks in the supply chain of personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE includes textile products like facial masks, gowns and gloves. More comprehensive reform and supply chain strategies are likely to follow after the supply chain review requested by the EO. [Policy document] [Textiles and apparel]

2 February 2021: The Office of the US Trade Representative Office announced to support Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director General of the WTO. Previously, the Trump administration did not support Ngozi’s candidacy. [WTO]

25 January 2021: President Biden issued an Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers, as part of his “Build Back Better” economic recovery plan. The order created the role of a “director of Made-in-America” within the Office of Management and Budget and increased the threshold and price preferences for domestic goods. [Policy document]