China Tech Threat believes that any trade negotiations that seek to improve the economic standing of the United States vis-à-vis China must not include compromises that jeopardize our security. The “Phase I” portion of the deal signed by the U.S. and China this week, as well as future developments, deserve careful scrutiny by policymakers.
The basic tenants of the current agreement include China’s commitment to buy an additional $200 billion in American goods over the next two years, in exchange for the U.S. lowering tariffs on $120 billion in Chinese products by half.
Provisions that deserve special attention in the deal with intellectual property commitments. One highlights Chinese compliance with a foreign investment law that went into effect this year that ostensibly bans administrative agencies from forcing technology transfers. Another stipulates that foreign firms located in China will be treated the same as domestic companies in setting industry standards and in the contracting process. These conditions are difficult to take at face value, given China’s National Intelligence Law (which mandates the transfer of information from firms) and the government’s stake in so many of the nation’s large and successful companies.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who CTT has lauded as someone who understands the full scope of threats and challenges from China, gave an appropriately measured response to the Trump Administration’s announcement of the deal:
“President Trump deserves credit for tackling the defining geopolitical issue of this century. However, one trade deal alone will not solve the critical structural imbalances between the U.S. and China,” remarked Sen. Rubio, in a statement yesterday.
“Addressing the U.S.-China relationship is the defining geopolitical issue of this century, and finding a peaceful and workable path forward for our two nations will require us to increase our national strength. That is why I am wholly committed to furthering our national development through 21st-century American industrial policy compatible with and complementary to our free market system. The stakes could not be higher because the outcome will define the 21st century,” he added, in comments exclusively to CTT.
Sen. Rubio understands that addressing, countering and neutralizing Chinese threats will take time and cannot be fully solved by the single stroke of a pen. CTT hopes other members of Congress and the Administration show similar foresight and prudence to pursue sound policy as negotiations continue and events develop.