By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday will pledge to take “aggressive” action in response to trade practices from China.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo will tell the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee the United States must “take aggressive trade enforcement actions to combat unfair trade practices from China and other nations that undercut American manufacturing,” according to a copy of her written testimony seen by Reuters.
The Commerce Department under President Donald Trump took aim at China on numerous fronts, adding dozens of Chinese companies to a trade blacklist, including telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co, the country’s top chipmaker SMIC, and drone manufacturer SZ DJI Technology.
If confirmed, Raimondo will inherit the prior Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to bar U.S. app stores from offering Chinese-owned TikTok or WeChat for download.
Three U.S. judges blocked Commerce Department orders issued under Trump that sought to bar new downloads of the two apps and impose restrictions on WeChat and TikTok that would effectively bar their use in the United States. Those rulings are now on appeal before U.S. circuit courts.
Under pressure from the U.S. government, ByteDance has been in talks for months to finalize a deal with Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Inc and Oracle Corp (NYSE:ORCL) to shift TikTok’s U.S. assets into a new entity to address U.S. security concerns.
At a press briefing Monday, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not answer when asked about the status of the existing executive order that aims to require Bytedance to divest Tiktok’s U.S. assets but said she would follow up.
“We need to play a better defense, which must include holding China accountable,” Psaki added.
The Commerce Department and its bureaus have about 46,000 employees, which also includes the U.S Census Bureau, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service and the Foreign Commercial Service. It also helps negotiate trade agreements, and enforces laws on trade and national security.