U.S. Trade Representative David Deitch: New “Legal Tools” Needed to Counter China’s Future Threats
U.S. Trade Representative Margaret Thatcher said Thursday (13) that the United States faces an anti-competitive threat from the Chinese Communist Party’s high-tech industry, so new “trade legal tools” are needed to stop it, and she criticized the current legal regime for reacting only after harm has occurred, which is too reactive. (Fang Dehao reports)
Reuters reported that Dyche testified at a U.S. House of Representatives fundraising committee hearing that existing “trade law tools” are designed to remedy injuries to U.S. industries and companies after they have been subjected to illegal price dumping, subsidies or other unfair competition.
Dyche said, “I really want to strengthen the trade tools that we have to address the problems that we have today.” She noted that many U.S. trade regulations are nearly 50 or 60 years old.
U.S. trade laws, by their retroactive nature, have been unable to prevent damage to the U.S. steel industry because China has built up significant production capacity over the past 20 years, Dyche said, adding that China’s five-year plan shows it is prepared to do the same in other industries.
Dyche noted, “I think we need tools not just to respond to violations that we’ve suffered in the past, but tools to anticipate where we’re going to see the same pattern of impaired interests so that we can prevent problems before they arise and so that we can respond as quickly as possible.”
Day had called Wednesday for Congress to update Section 232 (the national security trade statute) of 1962, which authorizes the government to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
In her speech Thursday, she detailed her desire for regulations to address the Communist Party’s massive subsidies and to respond to the Communist Party’s state-dominated economic system. If enacted, the new law could lay the groundwork for new tariffs in the future to protect more U.S. industries or could be used as bargaining chips in negotiations.
Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” plan targets 10 strategic industries currently dominated by the United States, including aerospace, semiconductors and messaging technology, robotics, green energy and electric vehicles, agricultural machinery, pharmaceuticals, and advanced materials.
The Biden administration is conducting a “comprehensive review” of its trade policy with China, including how it views the “first phase” of trade agreements reached between former President Trump and Beijing, which will expire at the end of 2021.
Dykes revealed that the U.S. has exempted many Chinese imports from Section 301 tariffs, but these exemptions have expired for many years, and the U.S. government’s review will include these issues and provide a timely response.
Dyche reiterated the Biden administration’s tough stance on trade and human rights abuses by China.
We welcome fair competition,” she said. But if the Chinese Communist Party is unable or unwilling to adapt to international rules and norms, we must create a level playing field.”