Donald Trump remains firmly atop the polls among Republican voters, in no small part because he has tapped into widespread anger over American politicians’ refusal to confront China over its trade policies.
In a position paper on reforming the U.S.-China trade relationship, Trump notes that President Bill Clinton in 2000 promised that China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization would be a big win for the American economy.
“None of what President Clinton promised came true,” Trump notes.
Since China joined the WTO, 50,000American factories have closed and millions of jobs have disappeared.
“It was not a good deal for America then and it’s a bad deal now,” writes Trump. “It is a typical example of how politicians in Washington have failed our country.”
Trump would take a much more aggressive approach in government negotiations with China.
“We have been too afraid to protect and advance American interests and to challenge China to live up to its obligations,” he writes.
“We need smart negotiators who will serve the interests of American workers, not Wall Street insiders that want to move U.S. manufacturing and investment offshore.”
Free trade is not the same as fair trade, says Trump, reflecting a phrase that Ronald Reagan used in the 1980s when he confronted Japan and Germany over their predatory trade policies. Reagan’s stance on trade helped create a generation of “Reagan Democrats” throughout the American heartland.
“When Donald J. Trump is president ,China will be on notice that America is back in the global leadership business and that their days of currency manipulation and cheating are over,” states the Trump position paper.
Trump taps into the anti-Washington sentiment when he says, “We need a president who will not succumb to the financial blackmail of a Communist dictatorship.”
He blasts Obama and his Treasury Department for “repeatedly refus[ing] to brand China a currency manipulator.
If elected, “on day one of the Trump administration, the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China as a currency manipulator. This will begin a process that imposes appropriate countervailing duties on artificially cheap Chinese products, defends U.S. manufacturers and workers and revitalizes job growth in America.”
He adds that he will “stand up to China’s blackmail and reject corporate America’s manipulation of our politicians.” He would then “force” China to uphold intellectual property laws“ and stop their unfair and unlawful practice of forcing U.S. companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market.”
He would “reclaim millions of American jobs and [revive] American manufacturing by putting an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards.”
He notes that Chinese export subsidies take the form of free rent, utilities and raw materials, cheap loans from China’s state-run banks, and tax rebates and cash bonuses to stimulate exports. “From textile and steel mills in the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast’s shrimp and fish industries industries to the Midwest manufacturing belt and California’s agribusiness, China’s disregard for WTO rules hurt every corner of America,” Trump writes.
“The U.S. Trade Representative recently filed yet another complaint with the WTO accusing China of cheating on our trade agreements by subsidizing its exports. The Trump administration will not wait for an international body to tell us what we already know.”
To strengthen the U.S. negotiating position with China, Trump would lower the U.S. corporate tax rate as a means to keep American companies from moving abroad. He would “attack our debt and deficit so China cannot use financial blackmail against us.”
He would strengthen the U.S. military and deploy it in the East and South China Seas to “discourage Chinese adventurism that imperils American interests in Asia and shows our strength as we begin renegotiating our trading relationships with China.”
Trump’s “Reforming the U.S.-China Trade Relationship to Make America Great Again” is located at:
This piece was republished with permission of our strategic partner Manufacturing News, from Volume 22, No. 13, November 24, 2015.