Josh Hawley Unveils ‘Worker’s Agenda’ to End U.S. Free Trade with China

Win McNamee/Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has unveiled his “worker’s agenda,” which includes legislation to end the United States’ decades-long, job-killing free trade status with China.

Last week, Hawley proposed the “Ending Normal Trade Relations with China Act” which would effectively impose high tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S. by revoking China’s free trade status that the communist country has enjoyed for more than two decades.

“As we face a new age of competition with China, we need an agenda in Washington that will make our working class strong and independent,” Hawley said in a statement:

We can start by revoking the sweetheart deal D.C. elites handed to China 23 years ago — end normal trade relations, put in place strong tariffs, and protect American workers. [Emphasis added]

In 2001, China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) with the backing of former President Bush’s administration and was subsequently awarded “permanent normal trade relations status” by the U.S. after congressional approval.

Democrat Rep. Sherman: China’s Control of Corporate America an ‘Invasion of our Sovereignty’:

As a result of authorizing U.S. free trade with China, nearly four million American jobs have been eliminated from the U.S. economy from 2001 to 2018 — including almost three million domestic manufacturing jobs, as multinational corporations readily shipped jobs overseas without penalties from the government.

During that same period, at least 50,000 American manufacturing plants closed down.

Employees work on a production line at a Schneider Electrical factory during a media tour in Beijing on February 17, 2022. (JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)

“It is time for Congress to remedy the past mistake of granting China [most favored nation] status,” Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) CEO Michael Stumo said in a statement:

China did not — as supporters of granting China [most favored nation] wrongly predicted — become more open, democratic, and free market oriented. Instead, the [Communist Chinese Party] used autocratic state planning strategies, forced labor, intellectual property theft, and illegal trade activity to weaken the U.S. economy, absorb Hong Kong, threaten Taiwan, and become America’s biggest geopolitical threat. We look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to pass legislation that revokes China’s Most Favored Nation status, recognizes the folly of eliminating most tariffs under the guise of ‘rules-based trade’ for non-market economies, and imposes higher tariffs on Chinese goods that are made with forced labor and subsidized by the [Communist Chinese Party]. [Emphasis added]

Stumo has also endorsed legislation from Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Budd (R-NC), Rick Scott (R-FL), and J.D. Vance (R-OH) that would likewise end China’s free trade status. Instead, presidential administrations would choose whether or not to authorize such status for China.

Earlier this month, Scott Paul with the Alliance for American Manufacturing urged Congress to end China’s free trade status to further prevent hollowing out the nation’s working and middle class.

While skyrocketing U.S. trade deficits have led to devastation across working and middle class communities over the last two decades, tariffs would be a boon for reshoring jobs and boosting wages, studies show.

A recent study from CPA economists finds that tariffs on nearly all foreign imports would create about 10 million American jobs while boosting domestic output.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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