Politics

Expert Says Chinese Are ‘Leaving the Trump Administration No Choice’

'The Coming Collapse of China' author argues on 'The Ingraham Angle' that trade war concerns are overblown, so president must stay firm

China is a “trade outlaw at the center of global commerce” that has stolen $225 billion to $600 billion in intellectual property, a foreign policy expert said Friday night on “The Ingraham Angle.”

Gordon Chang, a Daily Beast contributor and author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” told guest host Pete Hegseth on the Fox News show that President Donald Trump is right to confront Chinese aggression — regardless of concerns over a trade war.

“They’re leaving the Trump administration no choice,” he said. “Yes, no one likes tariffs. No one likes trade friction. No one likes industrial policy. But in an innovation economy, if you can’t protect innovation, we don’t have an economy.”

Those trade war concerns are “overblown,” Chang added. For instance, he referenced grave worries that retaliatory sanctions imposed by China on American soybeans will devastate farmers in the heartland.

Chang said it is impossible for China to replace American-produced soybeans with product from other countries. But even if it could, he argued, it would open up new markets for American soybean farmers.

How? Suppose China switched its imports to Brazil. That country can only grow so many soybeans, Chang said. If Brazil shifted its exports to meet increased Chinese demand, Brazil’s current customers would need a new supplier, he said.

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“So America’s soybean farmers will sell to Brazil’s customers,” he said. “The same principle applies with regard to Boeing aircraft.”

But Heritage Foundation economist Tori Whiting, who appeared on the same program, argued that imposing tariffs on China will only boomerang and hurt America. She claimed steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by President George W. Bush in 2002 cost 200,000 American jobs in one year.

“I actually don’t think tariffs are the right way to go,” she said.

China does pose a challenge, Whiting said. But she maintained that the better course of action is to pursue China’s bad practices through the World Trade Organization (WTO). She said the United States has won every complaint it has lodged against China and added that the Asian behemoth has changed its behavior after nine of those 10 cases.

“They’ve been gaming the system, and they actually are threatening the entire World Trade Organization global architecture.”

“The United States is going against the World Trade Organization and doing unilateral measures, instead of using the international organizations that we have in place to enforce the rules,” she said.

But Chang countered that pursuing traditional international trade complaints is an ineffectual way to address a country that has grown more mercantilist since it joined the WTO.

“They’ve been gaming the system, and they actually are threatening the entire World Trade Organization global architecture,” he said.

Filing trade cases encourages trade violations, Chang said.

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“What China has done is they’ve done violative acts or procedures or policies, and they wait five or six years or whatever, and then when there’s an adverse decision against them, they take it off, but they start something else which is equally violative,” he said. “And they’ve been gaming the system.”

America has “taught the Chinese to ignore our warnings,” Chang said.

“Now we’ve got a president who actually means what he says,” he said. “He shows flashes of political will. I hope he follows through because this is exceedingly dangerous — not only for the United States — but for the world as well. We need the Chinese to act responsibly, and our policies up till now have completely failed to do that.”

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

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