Rubio: To Fight China on Trade, We Need More Than Tariffs
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
March 13, 2018
New York Times
After World War II, the United States helped build an international economic order on the assumption that free and fair trade benefits all partners. During the postwar years, the American economy was unmatched by any other country. The postwar boom was fueled not just by thriving domestic demand but also by trade, which opened a flow of wealth from the world’s consumers to American workers. Trade made America and our partners more prosperous and secure.
This basic case for trade still stands. When we exchange goods with other nations on equal terms, both countries benefit. Maintaining the conditions that make this possible is the purpose of the international economic order that we took great care to nurture. We need to take violations of this economic order seriously. We must enforce the rules. China, in pursuit of its goals of economic and regional dominance, has been among the most egregious rule breakers.
When China acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2001, the United States supported that decision for two reasons: We hoped to promote better access to China’s consumer markets for American companies immediately and, eventually, political liberalization within China.
Neither has materialized. While the Chinese people have pushed for a somewhat more open society, the Chinese government is becoming even more autocratic. And since peaking in 2003, imports of manufactured goods into China as a share of gross domestic product have steadily declined.
Instead of opening its doors to United States exports, China has thwarted competition at every turn. It has advanced Chinese state-planned businesses by stealing American intellectual property and has pressured foreign companies that want to enter the Chinese market to agree to “joint ventures” that facilitate theft and espionage. China has also bought up American assets to inflate the value of the dollar and make American exports more expensive. China has also tried to tilt the playing field in the United States by manipulating its currency, among other tactics.
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