The new United States (US) administration is likely to remain busy for at least two years dealing with issues like tackling the health risks in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, recovering from the economic downturn as well as passing the Stimulus Bill and Affordable Care Act.
Apart from this, there is extensive disagreement among policymakers on a number of internal issues. The country's Congress is currently divided.
In this situation, it is very difficult to say how much Bangladesh's opportunities in bilateral trade with the US will increase after the Biden administration takes over responsibility.
The most important thing in our bilateral trade with the United States is the economic recovery of the last two quarters – which is fading again due to the second wave of the novel coronavirus.
Although the stimulus package announced in the first round expired in September, the second round of incentives was not approved because of disagreement between Republicans and Democrats.
If the new administration can manage to get the second stimulus package approved, the impact of the recession on consumer spending could be somewhat tamed. This will help recover our export demand.
Besides, we do not see any immediate impact of the US election results on our economy, since the US foreign policy and economic policy do not change much with the change of government.
But, with the Biden administration taking responsibility, I think there will be some recovery of multilateralism in global trade. As a result, countries like Bangladesh will have the opportunity to reap benefits.
The Trump administration has bypassed the World Trade Organization (WTO) and taken up the policy to move forward alone. It did not attach much importance to the multilateral trading system. As a result, the WTO has weakened.
However, I think the Biden administration will get out of this situation and adopt a policy of moving forward with everyone. In that case, the multilateral trading system and governance in this sector will be a little stronger.
Any conflict or dispute in international trade should be resolved through the WTO. A strong WTO will be a boon for us as we do not have much bargain capacity in the global economy.
If any country imposes an anti-dumping duty on any of our products, we have to rush to the WTO for a solution. And if the WTO is weak, no one will accept the decision of the organisation.
The impact of multilateralism in world trade has been going on since World War II. This trend has been hampered during the Trump administration's tenure. I think this situation will end if the Biden administration takes responsibility.
Bangladesh's trade with the United States could be severely damaged if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was finalised with 12 countries towards the end of the Obama administration, becomes active again.
The proposed TPP included Vietnam and other countries who were our competitors. If the Trump administration had not repealed the TPP, our competitors would have enjoyed duty-free access to the country while our entrepreneurs lagged behind.
The question is now whether Biden made any announcement about the TPP before the election. Before the last election, Trump talked about canceling the TPP over and over again, and he got it done, literally.
It remains to be seen whether the new administration revives the TPP. The alliance has already happened. If the TPP is introduced, our trade will suffer.
We do not have duty-free access for our products in the United States as it was repealed during the Obama administration. I do not think the new administration's attitude towards Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits will change.
However, discussions with the new administration must continue. I do not think the new US administration will interfere too much in countries like Bangladesh because it has a high-level of discord within it on a number of internal issues.
The country's Congress is currently divided. It will take two years for the new administration to fix the internal issues. And such type of intervention had always been there.
I do not think the new US administration's position on bilateral relations with China will change much. Biden also backed the United States' stand on intellectual property rights (IPR) with China.
Even, the European Union is unhappy with China for violating IPR.
With that in mind, it could be said that there is no prospect of a policy change when it comes to US-China relations.
However, the approach of the new administration will be different.
The new administration might not do anything as Trump did. The Biden administration will resolve the issues through relatively polite talks.
Trump single-handedly imposed tariffs on products one after another. However, the new government will not wage a trade war but will go for trade negotiation. It is difficult to say who is better for Bangladesh in the world economy, especially between Biden and Trump.
The democrat-run administration must work to strengthen global organisations. However, it is difficult to say how much profit and loss there will be in terms of trade.
The Trump administration was also not a believer in climate issues and left the Paris pact. Biden has promised to return to the agreement. This will benefit countries like Bangladesh which are at risk of climate change.
The article was prepared using an interview by cellphone