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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has said that he will not immediately act to remove the Phase 1 trade agreement, which President Donald Trump inked with China, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

In an interview with a Times columnist, Biden said that the United States needed to get leverage back to use in negotiations with China.

“I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs,” Biden said. “I’m not going to prejudice my options.”

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“In my view, we don’t have (leverage) yet,” he added.

The United States needs to develop a bipartisan consensus and increase government-led investments in research and development, infrastructure and education to better compete with China, according to the president-elect.

“I want to make sure we’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first,” Biden said.

Under the Phase 1 agreement signed earlier in the year, China agreed to increase purchases of American products and services by at least $200-billion over 2020 and 2021.

The deal also leaves in place 25 per cent tariffs on a $250-billion array of Chinese industrial goods and components used by U.S. manufacturers, and China’s retaliatory tariffs on over $100-billion in U.S. goods.

Biden’s team will pursue policies targeted at China’s “abusive practices,” including “stealing intellectual property, dumping products, illegal subsidies to corporations” and forcing “tech transfers” from U.S. companies to their Chinese counterparts, according to the interview.

On Iran, Biden said he stood by his views that his administration would lift sanctions if Tehran returned to “strict compliance with the nuclear deal.”

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Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had said Iran would fully implement its 2015 nuclear deal if Biden lifts sanctions, which Zarif said could be done swiftly through “three executive orders.”

“In consultation with our allies and partners, we’re going to engage in negotiations and follow-on agreements to tighten and lengthen Iran’s nuclear constraints, as well as address the missile program,” Biden added.

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