The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) may urge President Joe Biden to revoke the United States’ decades-long, job-killing free trade status with China.
In 2001, China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) with the backing of former President George W. Bush’s administration and was subsequently awarded permanent normal trade relations status (PNTR) by the U.S. after congressional approval.
The committee, tasked with investigating the CCP’s influence and impact on Americans, is reportedly considering asking Biden to pull PNTR with China as part of a larger package of recommendations.
Politico’s Doug Palmer reports:
The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party is considering a set of draft recommendations that includes taking the historic step of repealing permanent normal trade relations with China, according to an excerpt seen by POLITICO. [Emphasis added]
“The PRC has failed for two decades to live up to its WTO commitments on which PNTR was predicated,” a Select Committee spokesperson said, when asked about the draft recommendation. “Over the past year, the Select Committee has heard from a wide variety of bipartisan experts who have spoken to the need to revisit PNTR in light of the CCP’s lapsed commitments and expanding aggression. As the Select Committee continues its critical work, it is taking a close look at China’s PNTR status and available options, including ones that promote Congressional authority and prioritize strategic sectors to support resilience for critical supply chains.” [Emphasis added]
Such a recommendation would be historic, taking the issue of eliminating U.S. free trade with China mainstream — at least for Republicans, though many Democrats have supported doing so as well.
In March of this year, Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing told the House Select Committee on the CCP that Congress ought to suspend U.S. free trade with China, noting that the policy “weakened our capabilities and hollowed out our middle class.”
“Bringing China into the world trading system in 2000 seemed like a slam dunk but instead became a spectacular failure of conventional wisdom and elite opinion,” Paul testified.
Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Budd (R-NC), Rick Scott (R-FL), and J.D. Vance (R-OH) have proposed legislation that would end the nation’s free trade policy with China altogether, imposing tariffs on all imports from China.
Meanwhile, Biden’s top officials have remained vigilant in their position that the administration is not trying to decouple from China under any circumstances.
“We are not attempting to decouple from China,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Sky News in October. “We have a deep economic relationship and that kind of competition, trade, and investment is beneficial to both sides and we want an environment in which it can continue.”
From 2001 to 2018, U.S. free trade with China eliminated 3.7 million American jobs from the economy — 2.8 million of which were lost in American manufacturing. During that same period, at least 50,000 American manufacturing plants closed down.
Those massive job losses have coincided with a booming U.S.-China trade deficit. In 1985, before China entered the WTO, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled $6 billion. In 2019, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled more than $345 billion.
Meanwhile, stripping China of its normal trade relations status with the U.S., a study from the Coalition for a Prosperous America finds, would create two million American jobs and grow the economy by nearly two percent.
The plan would put tariffs on Chinese imports from a range of 6.7 percent up to more than 70 percent. As a result, the study shows real American household incomes increasing by more than $3,600 and American manufacturing output would increase by more than six percent.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.