China First

By Jason Smith, member of Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the Winter Olympics kicked off, and the spotlight of the world is being shined directly on China and the brutal record of its communist regime. Inexplicably, the International Olympic Committee ignored the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) record of murdering its citizens and censoring anyone who lives or does business in China and chose China to host the Winter Games. But the IOC isn’t the only institution to sell out its values to coddle the CCP. Over the past few years, we’ve seen multinational corporations excuse the CCP’s actions, no matter how serious the infraction – despite many of these U.S.-based company’s supposed commitment to universal human rights.

China’s human rights abuses aren’t the only reason we should be concerned. China for years has been allowed to flagrantly violate international business norms by stealing intellectual property, manipulating its currency, and engaging in explicitly unfair trade practices that prevent American goods from being sold in China. And for many years, these practices were tolerated – if not endorsed outright – by the U.S. government.

All that changed under President Trump. Nowhere was the America First agenda more apparent than it was in the Trump administration’s trade policy. He prioritized hardworking Americans over the needs of big business and worked to fight back against Chinese practices going back decades that have taken away the jobs of so many of the working class. Prior to the COVID pandemic – which was caused by China – our trade deficit with China was actually shrinking, not expanding. There was evidence that the Trump approach of fighting back against China was working. For example, China increased its American soybean imports 52.8% in 2020, which is absolutely crucial for our farmers. While there’s more to be done, there were positive results starting to show.

If there’s one thing Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on, it’s that America needs to be doing everything we can to fight back against China – its unfair trade practices, its growing influence around the world, its human rights violations. But when Joe Biden started in office, he refused to commit to Donald Trump’s strategy. Since he started, he has taken no meaningful trade action that would improve the lives of American workers.

And it gets worse. His allies in Congress like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are pushing a bill that they claim will help America take on China but buried in the nearly 3,000-page bill are key provisions that would actually make it harder for this administration or any future administration to fight back against the CCP on trade. In addition, the bill will spend hundreds of billions of dollars on programs including a UN slush fund, climate change officers within the foreign service, and a Coral Reef Task Force. In fact, the legislation mentions coral reefs more than it mentions China. And this is supposed to be the basis of a serious strategy to boost American competitiveness?

I even offered an amendment to the bill that would have shown the strong congressional concern over the lack of an effective China strategy. But Speaker Pelosi wouldn’t even let my amendment be debated, let alone voted on. It’s all part of an effort by Joe Biden’s allies in Congress to protect his abysmal record from criticism, all while rewarding their friends and allies, particularly large multinational corporations, while doing nothing to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party. It’s unacceptable, and it’s part of the reason I am so strongly opposed to this legislation, which has been referred to as the America CONCEDES Act.

If our country is going to strengthen American workers, farmers, and manufacturers, we need an ambitious trade agenda that sells and promotes Made in America goods and services, relieves supply chain shortages, and creates jobs – not in China, but in America. Sadly, Washington Democrats would rather hold small businesses hostage to their radical Green New Deal agenda and hand out trade welfare ahead of selling American products.

This bill is just one more example of how out of touch Washington Democrats are with the working class. Rest assured, as your representative, I will never stop fighting to hold China accountable and advance policies that put America First!