Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, cautioned Americans during an interview on Wednesday with Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak, co-hosts of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight, warning against naive assumptions of good faith regarding China’s trade policies with the U.S.
Manning warned Americans against political naivety in dealing with countries like China, saying, “It’s one of the things that I find most challenging in any debate about trade, is that our basic instinct is to assume that other countries have the same value systems we have, that they have the same ethos about private property and about individual rights that we have.
Manning said Americans should recognize the uniqueness of their broad support for individual freedoms and property rights when trading with other countries. He said, “The fact is, we are an anomaly in the world. Europe has it and shares it. There are some other countries like Australia and others who share it. By and large, in most countries around the world, there is not the same ethos of protecting individual rights, protecting intellectual property, and protecting property as a whole, and without that ethos, it is very hard to engage in a trading relationship that is equitable because you’re not trading on the same baselines. You’re trading with completely different assumptions, and if one side says, ‘Whatever’s yours in mine, and whatever’s mine is mine,’ and you’re saying, ‘We’re going to play fair by the rules based on how we draw them up,’ one side’s going to lose, and that side’s been the United States in the last two decades to China.”
Manning highlighted the case of Corning, a fiber optics technology company, as illustrative of China’s theft of intellectual property. “It costs a lot of money and capital and intellectual grooming to be able to come up with intellectual property, to build real things in a new way,” he declared. “Corning was the leader in fiber optic technology. They put a plant into China because there was cheaper labor. … China then built two plants right next to it that built fiber optics using the plans that Corning had, and stealing the technology because Corning went into China, and as a result of that, you ended up with China then flooding the market with fiber optics at the time and Corning getting into real financial trouble. A simple thing like that is an example of how China doesn’t respect patents. They don’t respect what somebody else has done. They don’t play fairly in the marketplace. Why would they? It’s communist China. They don’t believe in private property at its core.”
Manning also recalled a 2012 congressional report regarding Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE as evidence of China’s deployment of its state-linked companies to subvert American national security via exploitable technological backdoors. “The Chinese have embedded — and the FCC has just acted upon this within the last week or so — within a lot of technology processes — routers and the like that they sell — a lot of backdoors,” Manning said.
“That was found in a 2012 congressional report that the FCC just acted upon. The FCC is not going to spend money out of their broadband fund to purchase Chinese-made technology because they don’t trust that their technology isn’t going to be filled with backdoors that can disrupt the U.S. economic system.”
Manning criticized China’s non-reciprocity of America’s market openness. China further extorts intellectual property from U.S.-based companies, he added. “[China is] making sure that their markets are not open to U.S. goods and also requiring a technology transfer to occur, essentially extorting intellectual property from U.S. companies that seek to do business in China, companies like Facebook and Google and the like,” remarked Manning.
Manning described the Chinese government as “running the table” on the U.S. with respect to trade. “So you have a vast disparity, and right now, President Trump is attempting to reorganize this disparity to try and make it more of an equitable arrangement,” he argued. “Obviously, the Chinese are not going to be happy about that. When you’re running the table on somebody, you certainly don’t want them to fight back, and the U.S. has woken up and is fighting back, and the Chinese are saying, ‘Wait a second; we don’t want to give up a good thing, so we’re not going to give it up easily.’”
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Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.