Washington, D.C. — Earlier this week, the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, whose members are appointed by leadership in both parties, unanimously recommended that Congress review China’s conduct as a World Trade Organization (WTO) member and consider legislation to withdraw China’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status.
“A high-level bipartisan congressional commission unanimously recommending that Congress terminate China’s favorable U.S. trade status is stunning and perfectly captures the seismic shift in favor of upending our failing China and broader trade policies,” said Lori Wallach, Director of Rethink Trade at the American Economic Liberties Project. “By reconsidering China’s PNTR status, Congress could help forge a U.S. trade policy that creates good jobs and a more inclusive economy, rebuilds American manufacturing, and improves our resilience and security.”
In April 2022, Lori Wallach, the Director of Economic Liberties’ Rethink Trade program, testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission regarding U.S. trade policy and the impact of China’s distortions on U.S. jobs, growth, and innovation.
In 2000 when Congress debated granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations to China to facilitate its admission to the WTO, proponents claimed doing so would be a foreign policy cure-all. They said the move would moderate China’s authoritarian government, improve human and labor rights, and enhance China’s cooperation on an array of national security challenges while also ensuring new access to Chinese markets that would create U.S. jobs. The actual result was just the opposite, and the argument is now commonly known as “The China Fantasy.”
The resulting hyperglobalization, fueled by decades of corporate-rigged trade policies, has encouraged corporations to move production overseas in a never-ending race to exploit the cheapest labor and lowest environmental standards and to concentrate production with too few companies producing in too few locations. The mass outsourcing of U.S. industrial capacity and loss of 70,000 U.S. manufacturing facilities and the intensive global concentration of production with little redundancy in many sectors now leaves the United States unable to make or reliably acquire critical medical supplies, microchips, steel, and more.
“Having fought tooth and nail against Congress’ vote to grant permanent most favored nation status to China in 2000, I especially appreciate the commission’s meticulous documentation over the years of the outcomes of that fateful decision,” Wallach said. “I hope Congress and the Biden administration are able to work together to create a new China trade policy that reflects the utter failure of our current approach.”
Learn more about Rethink Trade here.
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Rethink Trade is a division of the American Economic Liberties Project (AELP). AELP, a non- profit research and advocacy organization, is a thought leader in the anti-monopoly movement and promotes policy changes to address today’s crisis of concentrated economic power. The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.