The chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee called last week for a “smart and strategic decoupling from China.”
Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo) opened a committee field hearing in Staten Island with a warning about China’s continued presence in US supply chains, saying that Beijing’s behavior poses a threat to the US economy.
"Congress needs to shine a light on China’s human rights abuses and predatory trade practices,” he said. “China is forging ahead with an aggressive trade agenda that cheats America, shapes the global playing field in its favor, and threatens key American supply chains and the livelihoods of American farmers and workers.”
"What should be now clear to everyone here today is that what our country needs is a smart and strategic decoupling from China,” he stated.
"Workers and small businesses being harmed by China’s unfair trade practices have been overlooked and forgotten for too long,” Rep. Smith said. “They expect us to go further and to use the tools at our disposal to level the playing field for workers, farmers, and job creators. We’re here to make sure the future of US trade includes their voices.”
Congress needs to reassert its constitutional role over trade, he said. The chairman accused the Administration of “trying to work around Congress” by negotiating framework agreements that do not require Congressional approval, unlike traditional free trade agreements.
Ranking Democrat Richard Neal (Mass) pointed out that in the last Congressional session, the then-Democrat controlled House approved the America COMPETES Act that was aimed at combating China’s unfair trade practices. House Republicans opposed the legislation. Mr. Neal held the Chair in the Previous congress.
Mr. Neal charged that Republicans’ current budget plan would cut spending on trade enforcement. The proposed cuts “would hang American workers and businesses out to dry,” he said.
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