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Anjani Trivedi

Biden Needs to Keep an Eye on Jobs — in China

This isn’t 2016. A better relationship with Beijing means understanding Xi Jinping’s labor market.

Xi and then-Vice President Joe Biden in California.

Xi and then-Vice President Joe Biden in California.

Photographer: Tim Rue/Corbis/Getty

As a Biden presidency takes shape in the U.S., it’s worth wondering to what extent the hardline Trumpian stance on China will persist. While a fraying relationship is to some extent priced in, there’s now more to consider.

China’s labor market could become a key lever. For all of Beijing’s talk about boosting innovation and productivity to achieve so-called quality growth, little gets said of the hundreds of millions of working people who would actually fulfill President Xi Jinping’s ambitions. They may be the ones holding up the sky.