U.S. Trade Rep. Declares China an ‘Unprecedented Threat’ to World Trade System
Paul Huang, courtesy of Epoch Times
China’s manipulative trade practices and economic model represent an “unprecedented threat” to the world’s market-based economy and U.S. interests, said the incumbent United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a speech on Monday.
It was the first major public speech given by Lighthizer, a long term critic of China’s trade practices against the United States. Lighthizer told a crowd of over a hundred at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that China represents the one challenge facing the administration that is “substantially more difficult than those faced in the past.”
“The sheer scale of their coordinated efforts to develop their economy, to subsidize, to create ‘National Champions,’ to force technology transfers, and to destroy market, in China and throughout the world, is a threat to world trading system that is unprecedented,” said Lighthizer.
Lighthizer was referring to the hundreds if not thousands of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOE) that are institutionally protected and promoted by the Chinese regime, hence known as the “national champions” of the Chinese economy.
Not only do Chinese state-owned enterprises receive extensive protection from the Chinese regime against foreign competition, they are also often the culprits in stealing technology and other intellectual properties from foreign companies. Large number of American companies have fallen victim to such abusive tactics by the Chinese, which has resulted in massive job losses on the part of American workers, according to Lighthizer and many other critics of China’s trade practices.
“Unfortunately the World Trade Organization is not equipped to deal with this problem,” Lighthizer said, “WTO and its predecessors, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), were not designed to successfully manage mercantilism on this scale.”
“We must find other ways to defend our companies, workers, farmers, and indeed, our economic system,” said Lighthizer, “We must find ways to ensure our market-based economy prevails.”
Lighthizer did not reveal specifics of the ongoing investigation regarding China’s alleged theft of intellectual property, a process that was started by President Trump on Aug. 14. He revealed, however, that the investigators receive “an awful lot of complaints” from executives of American companies that were hurt by the abusive practices of the Chinese, with many complaining that they were forced to give up their technology and corporate secrets to their Chinese competitors.
Trump Continues Hawkish Stance
Lighthizer’s comment on Monday represents the latest signal that Trump’s campaign pledge of a hardline trade policy against China remains steadfast, despite the departure on Aug. 19 of White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who was widely thought to be the administration’s primary advocate of a hawkish stance against China.
Lighthizer is not the only “trade hawk” inside Trump’s administration. Peter Navarro, an economist who is also known for outspoken criticism of the Chinese regime and of China’s trade practices against the United States, was selected by President Donald Trump to head the newly created National Trade Council and is believed to be playing a key role in forming the Trump administration’s trade policies.