Biden Sells Infrastructure Improvements as a Way to Counter China

“I really think 50 years from now, historians will look back at this moment and say, ‘This is the moment America started to win the competition of the 21st century,’” he said. “

Brian Dies, director of Biden’s National Economic Council, said in an interview that the law would increase competitiveness and productivity through a variety of spending programs.

“This bill will be a game changer in getting Americans to work,” Mr. Daisy said.

He added that it would allow people to access economic opportunities by improving public transportation, roads and bridges, and providing high-speed internet, which he called “the lifeblood of the 21st century economy.”

China’s massive investment in its own infrastructure, and its threat to US dominance of new and old global industries, looms large over the congressional negotiations that resulted in the bill. Democratic and Republican lawmakers are more attuned than ever to Chinese spending, thanks to Biden and President Donald J. Trump, who both put competition with China at the center of their presidential campaign last year.

Government investment in infrastructure and advanced industries was a key factor in China’s economic transformation into a country of skyscrapers and bullet trains from one of subsistence farming, bicycles and dirt roads just 40 years ago. Partly because of huge government subsidies, the country makes more than half of the world’s steel and cement, most solar panels and a growing share of electric cars.

China spends more than 5 percent of its GDP on infrastructure, much more than most developed countries and several times the proportion in the United States, where spending on federal infrastructure is expected to grow to about 1.2 percent of GDP in the coming years. According to the Capital Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

US officials have accused China of seeking an advantage through nefarious means as well. Mr. Biden raised concerns about China’s “unfair trade and economic policies” in his virtual meeting with Mr. Xi on Monday, according to a reading of the call released by the White House. Biden chose to keep Trump’s tariffs on China because retaliation against his accused officials was intellectual property rights abuses and other unfair trade behavior.

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