China / Across America

Trump trade idea panned by ex-rep

By Amy He in New York (China Daily USA) Updated: 2016-05-26 11:45

Donald Trump's remarks on imposing a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports are "stupid" and all 2016 presidential candidates have had "outrageous" positions on trade policy, said a former US trade representative.

"I think [Trump's proposal is] a stupid idea, it would hurt us as much as it would hurt anybody else, no question," said Susan Schwab, who was the 15th US Trade Representative under the George W. Bush administration.

"But the point is, all of the candidates who are currently still running, and most of the ones who dropped out, have totally outrageous positions on trade policy that would hurt the United States economy, the global economy," she said. "These are not profiles in courage, these are cheap shots."

Schwab pointed out that America produces far more goods than the country could possibly consume by itself, and that without robust trade agreements, the products and services would have nowhere to go.

Trump trade idea panned by ex-rep

Carla Hills, the 10th US Trade Representative under George H. W. Bush's administration, agreed, added that polls show American voters think trade is good for them.

For those who have lost jobs to trade competitors, it is pertinent for them to be educated on how companies who invest overseas end up bringing more investment back into the home market, Hills said.

Along with Barbara Franklin, a former Secretary of Commerce in the George H. W. Bush administration, Hills and Schwab discussed on Tuesday US trade with China, pointing to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement as an example of where the US might not necessarily have taken the best route by leaving China out.

"I think in hindsight we could have reached out more to China, whether they were ready to or willing to is not relevant," said Hills.

"I think that with the second-largest economy in the world, there's a benefit to trying to encourage it to move ahead and I think we need to say words that are more inviting. I don't think that they would've joined, but I do think we would've gotten brownie points for the invitation," she said.

Franklin said that if the US had extended a hand to China on the trade deal, "perhaps the Chinese wouldn't have viewed TPP as an effort to contain them."

Hopefully the deal will be approved by Congress and that down the line "China will want to reach out and join", the same way other Asian countries have, she added.

On China's participation in the WTO 15 years after it first entered, Hill said that though the country has more to do, it has also had to do a lot in order to gain admittance.

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