Amid the global COVID-19 health crisis, intensifying social movements across the country, and severe economic downturn, public opinion of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party has fallen substantially. Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is leading by a substantial margin in the polls for the 2020 US electoral outlook and is currently favored to win the November election.
A Biden victory alone would lead to substantial changes in the regulatory orientation of the US, stronger environmental protections, and a marked shift away from the foreign policy stance adopted by Trump. More surprising, the Democrats also have strong chance at taking the Senate, which would give them the ability to pass a sweeping progressive legislative agenda that would include significant changes to the US healthcare system, infrastructure investment, and labor costs.
A Biden presidency will bring changes to US foreign relations across Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Notably, a new administration would bring in a more multilateral approach, easing tensions and increasing engagement with allies. Trade issues will be a top priority, and tensions with China will continue. In other regions, such as the eurozone, trade tensions will ease. Our analysts have broken down what you can expect from each region in the event of a Biden victory in November.
Latin America: US policy in Latin America will remain focused on economic relationships and security cooperation. Relationships with top trading partners, such as Mexico and Brazil, will take precedence along with continued focus on the political crisis in Venezuela and the growing governance problems in the Northern Triangle.
Asia Pacific: Geopolitical tensions with China are here to stay, regardless of a Trump or Biden victory. However, US policy toward Asia Pacific, excluding China, may shift to more engagement under a Biden administration. Biden is more likely to approach Asia Pacific countries as strategic partners to combat China’s ever-increasing role in regional and global economies.
Western Europe: Trade tensions between the US and Western Europe have caused significant rifts in the relationship. Amid the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the Trump administration threatened additional tariffs on European goods. Trade issues across the region will be a significant challenge for the next administration, and Biden is likely to gradually remove the Trump administration’s tariffs against Europe.
Central and Eastern Europe: A Biden victory in November will likely bring harsh US sanctions against Russia, particularly if allegations of Russian interference in the election arise. Alternatively, should Trump win, multinational corporations can expect more mild sanctions momentum akin to his first term—though still a threat—as Trump continues to resist more sanctions against Russia. CIS markets would be impacted via a weaker Russian economy and ruble.
Middle East & North Africa: We expect limited change to US policy toward Israel and Palestine. Biden has already announced support for the two main policy changes that occurred under the Trump administration, including the movement of the US embassy to Jerusalem and support for the Israel–UAE peace agreement. Biden will restore diplomatic ties with Palestinian authorities and attempt his own restart of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Download an executive summary of our US Electoral Outlook report, which outlines the major implications for multinational corporate planning from the November election.
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