Jul 22 2020
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Mornings with Maria on Fox Business to discuss the U.S. closing the Chinese consulate in Houston overnight, China’s efforts to dominate the 21st century economy, the importance of domestic industrial capacity, and passing additional federal relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.
“This consulate is basically a front. It’s kind of the central node of a massive spy operation — commercial espionage, defense espionage, also influence agents to try to influence Congress. They use businessmen as fronts in many cases to try to influence Members of Congress and other political leaders at the state and local level. So it’s long overdue that it be closed. What’ll happen is the Secretary of State, probably already has demarched the ambassador, called him in, told him we are going to do this, told him why. Given their agents, that we know who they are, 72 hours to leave the country. If they don't leave within 72 hours they’ll be arrested as spies…
“When your embassy or consulate is closed, they start destroying everything in there, they have a plan of destruction. For us the Marines are in charge of doing that if someone closes our embassy. So they’ll burn documents and shred documents and destroy computers and so forth… Now what will happen is the Chinese will respond. They will close one of our facilities somewhere in China, probably Wuhan.”
On China’s efforts to dominate critical industries of the 21st century economy:
“They are also investing billions of dollars in these industries. They are trying to become an industrial power on par or greater than the United States, particularly in the new industries that will dominate the 21st century. But in addition to that, they steal our secrets… We are investing billions of taxpayer dollars in this race for a vaccine. So taxpayers create the baseline for it and these guys come in and steal it for free to start their research from that point forward. It just can't continue.
“So we have seen this over and over again, whether it’s forced intellectual property transfers, whether they come in through a front company and buy an innovative American company and steal secrets that way, or in this case hack into a computer. They do all three, they are very aggressive about it — more than anyone else in the world. And it is not a small part of the advances they have made to this point; many of the big leaps they’ve made in technology are the result of [China] stealing it from us or someone else.”
On efforts to create awareness over China’s malign activities to steal intellectual property and undermine U.S. industry and technological advancement:
“For the better part two years I have been a part of this road show, along with the FBI, Homeland Security, and others. Meaning, we’ve brought in academia, we’ve brought in the Chamber of Commerce. We’ve brought in the telecommunication companies, the rural electric companies, and sort of read them all into this threat. You are right, there is still resistance out there because you’ve got companies that have built their entire business model around doing business with China.
“But I think under the Trump Administration we have come a long way in the last three years. We are nowhere near where we needed to be yet, in terms of being aware of this threat and addressing it, but we have certainly come a long way. I think there are encouraging signs, both in academia and in other places, about this threat. Now, we still have places like the NBA and others who clearly want to be able to make money off the Chinese market and don't really want to say anything that offends the Chinese, but you have seen a growing amount of awareness in different places that wasn’t there two or three years ago. The Administration and their allies here in Congress, quite frankly in both parties on this issue, deserve tremendous credit for continuing to push this issue and we are going to continue to do that because we are nowhere near where we need to be on it.”
On Chinese companies exploiting U.S. capital markets:
“I think [American investors] deserve to know the same thing they know about every other company on the stock market. Part of the problem we have here is that we don't have equality. In essence, Chinese companies get to do things in the United States, they have access to markets, they have access to equity markets, but we don't have access to theirs, and they don't even play by our rules when they have access to our markets. And so you just went back to a very basic notion. China is no longer a poor developing country, it is now a developed country, the second largest economy in the world. No more of this unfair stuff. We get to do in their country what they get to do here, and if we're not allowed to do it there, they are not allowed to do it here.
“Second, they can't come to America and conduct business here under special rules that give them an advantage, whether it’s in the stock market or anywhere else, over that of American companies. We can't continue to do that. We are deindustrializing our country, we are losing the capacity to make things, and we are going to pay a tremendous price if we do not reverse that.”
On the importance of having domestic industrial capacity:
“You cannot be a military power, you cannot be a geopolitical power, you cannot be an economic power, if you are not an industrial power. A nation has to have an industrial capacity, and it has to identify certain core industries that are critical to your economic and national security. And you must have a domestic capacity to do that. If you don't, then you become a very dependent country and a very vulnerable one.”
On passing additional federal relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
“Well, first of all, I am also concerned about the debt. But I will tell you given this pandemic, if we don't do something, the economy is going to suffer, lasting structure damage that is going to make it very hard for this country to have the growth it is going to need to get the debt under control going. It’s going to last a decade so we need to address it.
“We got to get people back to work. That’s why we’ll have a more targeted second round of PPP. I think we’re open to other things that help people get back to work. Embedded in that debate of course is what do you do for individual Americans. Do you increase the unemployment or do you continue this extended unemployment by another number of months? We are hearing from many employers that it is making it harder to rehire people. We can't ignore that when they raise that, so that has to be taken into account. The President wants a payroll tax cut. Of course that depends on people being back to work. We got to get kids back in school and that means we are going to have to invest in the things in this country that allow us to open schools safely. The price for not getting kids in school is extremely high…
“Everyone knows what a big deal this is. Look, it’ll be messy. They’ll be a lot of kicking and screaming, a lot of name calling, and a lot of noise. That’s how we make sausage in our republic. Ultimately, I do believe that at the end of the day we’ll have some package that everyone will like a lot of things in it, and everyone will have a couple things they don’t like. But that’s the only way you can pass a law around here. We have to pass something the President will sign, Democrats in the House will support, and Democrats and Republicans in the Senate will vote for. That’s not an easy thing to do, but I believe we can get it done.”