In a speech to the CLSA Investors’ Forum in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Breitbart Executive Chairman Steve Bannon stated that to avoid a trade war, China must cease its economic war on America.
In a separate interview on Tuesday with David Martosko of The Daily Mail, Bannon mentioned President Trump’s planned visit to China in November to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and attend economic summits. Bannon said Trump will seek common ground in a new trade relationship with China because “[t]here’s too much at stake to slip into a trade war right off the bat.”
“I think it has to be engagement [between] the United States and China. I think the November meeting with the president is going to really be that, and I think good things will come out of it.”
Bannon predicted Trump would be aggressive in pursuing America’s interests, but would still be able to “reach some sort of accommodation.”
“I think we’ll avoid a trade war simply for the fact that the president has shown that he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to protect American jobs, and to bring back manufacturing jobs,” he said.
From the Daily Mail:
Bannon spoke to the CLSA Investors’ Forum using PowerPoint slides, according to two attendees.
One provided notes showing the content of Bannon’s slides about Asia, which Bannon confirmed after his speech.
‘Forced technology transfer will be the central issue that must be resolved,’ read one slide.
‘To avoid a trade war, China must cease its economic war against America.’
A second slide pointed to the Trump administration’s ‘rejection’ of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trading bloc as an example of a ‘new American focus on “reciprocity”.’
From there, Bannon’s Powerpoint forecasts how the White House will focus on reciprocal trade deals to impact NAFTA, the ‘301 investigation’ – which he claims has cost the U.S. ‘$3.5 trillion in the last 10 years’ – and the United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement, which he describes as a question of ‘terminate or renegotiate.’
As Martosko notes, the “Section 301” probe investigating allegations of China’s theft of American intellectual property was “undertaken in August by the U.S. Trade Representative under an obscure portion of a 1974 trade law [and] could result in new tariffs on Chinese products.”
Bannon told CBS anchor Charlie Rose that Trump for 30 years has “singled out China as the biggest single problem we have on the world stage.”
“The elites in this country have got us in a situation–we’re not at economic war with China, China is at economic war with us,” he said.
Bannon said, for starters, he wants China “to stop appropriating our technology.”
“China is, through forced technology transfer and through stealing our technology, … cutting out the beating heart of American innovation,” Bannon said.
Bannon expressed similar sentiments to American Prospect editor Robert Kuttner, whom he called because he agreed with some of the things Kuttner has written on China.
“We’re at economic war with China,” he told Kuttner. “It’s in all their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path.”
Bannon told Kuttner that to him, “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we’re five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we’ll never be able to recover.”
Bannon recently explained to the New York Times that “a hundred years from now, this is what they’ll remember — what we did to confront China on its rise to world domination.”
Comparing China today to “Germany in 1930,” Bannon told the Times that China is “on the cusp. It could go one way or the other.”