Politics

China Trade Imbalance ‘Killing Jobs,’ Says Alabama Congressman

Rep. Mo Brooks argues Sen. Elizabeth Warren should give president's policies more of a chance before dismissing them

The weekend criticisms by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) of what she termed President Donald Trump’s “chaotic” foreign policy were “not productive,” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said Monday morning on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

“Time will tell whether that strategy that President Trump is implementing is gonna work for the best or for the worst,” Brooks (shown above) told guest host Paul Viollis. “I’d give him a little bit more time and a little bit more deference than Sen. Warren has, and we’ll find out if it works. But we do know that what Sen. Warren and her party have done in the past has not worked.”

At the same time, Brooks said, he gives credit to Warren for taking a tough line on trade during her visit to China.

The Massachusetts Democrat told reporters that American allies are having a difficult time understanding Trump’s policies and that the president is making a mistake to “take the legs out from underneath” U.S. diplomats.

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The senator and possible 2020 presidential candidate also told reporters that U.S. officials are starting to wake up to the fact that economic engagement with China has failed to change bad behavior — including the common practice of forcing American companies to surrender technology as a price for access to the huge Chinese market.

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“She was not afraid to talk about the very bad trade imbalance we have with China and the adverse effect that has on our country,” he said.

Brooks (pictured above) noted that America runs a $375 billion trade deficit in goods with China.

“That’s money taken out of our capital markets here in America, money that would have been invested to produce more jobs,” he said. “And it’s also killing jobs, exporting jobs from America to China.”

Brooks recalled visiting a Ford Motor Co. plant in Nanjing, China. He said Ford could not own the land and had to pay rent to the Chinese government.

“They had to share their profits and technology with the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government,” he said.

“You’re not going to find many engineering graduates from American engineering universities who would be willing to [earn] $10,000 per year.”

The benefit to Ford was obvious. Brooks noted the company was able to hire design engineers for about $10,000 a year.

“You’re not going to find many engineering graduates from American engineering universities who would be willing to [earn] $10,000 per year,” he said.

Brooks said he would focus on tariffs against Chinese imports and put more restrictions on the ability of Chinese companies to buy U.S. technology, particularly technology with military applications.

American-made products also have an unfair disadvantage because they are subject to much more stringent environmental regulations.

“That’s not apparently very important over in China,” he said.

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Brooks said pollution is so bad in Beijing that the life expectancy is considerably lower than other parts of the country, and hotels give their guests face masks to wear if they go outside.

“We’re forcing our American companies to pay that bill, which of course, ends up being an increase in the cost of goods that they manufacture,” he said. “China doesn’t have that cost embedded in their products. And that puts our American industry at a competitive disadvantage.”

Brooks expressed hope that long term, China could be an ally. But he said it is important for policymakers to remain clear-eyed.

“Right now they’re more likely to be a geopolitical foe, both economically and militarily,” he said. “And we have to wake up to that fact.”

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: 2017 Athens Town Hall and Legislative UpdateMo Brooks, CC BY-SA 2.0, by repmobrooks)

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