After tweeting “… trade wars are good, and easy to win” about a year and a half ago in reference to our nation’s growing trade tensions with China at that point, President Donald Trump was right about one thing. This trade war is clearly not as easy to “win” as he first claimed in March 2018, but, it is without a doubt the right course of action to take for all Americans.
While Trump’s actions, which include imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods manufactured in China, may appear to many as provocative and dangerous, they are actually greatly warranted, as is evident from the bipartisan support his measures have received. For decades, China has engaged in significantly unfair trade practices against the United States, with our government doing little about it.
As the current administration has correctly stated, China, the world’s largest exporter, has routinely been found to illegally and aggressively sell its products, manipulate its currency and steal America’s intellectual property, which are all part of a calculated effort to unethically elevate its economy above that of the U.S. As a result, everyday Americans playing by the rules have found themselves confined and limited by China’s previously unchallenged actions.
In a 2018 White House fact sheet, it was reported that China has endangered millions of American jobs through a number of unfair tactics, including forced technology transfer, “outright cyber theft” and the imposition of tariffs on American goods that, on average, are triple (although sometimes 10 times greater) what the United States has imposed on Chinese goods. Furthermore, China has been found to regularly promote the dumping of its goods, conditions of over-capacity and the usage of industrial subsidies that “make it impossible for many United States firms to compete on a level playing field,” according to the fact sheet. Moreover, China accounts for 87 percent of the counterfeit goods that are confiscated upon reaching our borders. Finally, a number of plans the nation has developed — including the Made in China 2025 initiative — pose a direct economic threat to our nation and other law-abiding countries.
Consider, as is detailed in a recent CNBC article, ordinary citizens trying to make a living as China moves to exploit them. With several different companies mentioned, it becomes strikingly clear that, despite the harm stemming from tariffs, Trump is answering a long call from many to attempt to put China in its place. “(I)t’s not a free market,” Neil Muyskens, CEO of the suffering Unicomp company, a small business that manufactures keyboards in Kentucky, said. “We are at a significant cost disadvantage and always have been.”
Many in this nation who are concerned about the impact of this trade war point to the decline of the stock market and the hardships felt by American consumers and businesses as evidence that our president is inadvertently harming this nation and throwing the worldwide economic landscape off balance. But while there are risks and rewards with any decision, the truth is confronting Beijing benefits the United States.
Already, since the White House first began tackling China’s unfair trade advantage, we have seen progress. While the road to a deal has been bumpy at times, with work still necessary, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have held negotiations in order to arrive at a solution that both sides can agree to. Most of all, by taking a stand against Beijing’s harmful practices, China is less likely to engage in these types of aggressive habits in the future as long as we keep applying this level of pressure on their government.
Undoubtedly, Trump has encountered roadblocks. It is clear that such a great economic power like China, especially considering its behavior in the past, presents a unique challenge for the president and the U.S. And while many have been pessimistic about these efforts, our government doesn’t have much of an alternative choice. Ultimately, the United States can either continue to persevere as one of the world’s leading powers and triumph over these unethical conditions, or we can blink and allow China to further wreak havoc on our economy.
As one considers the state of the current situation, it is fully clear that we have no choice but to continue this lengthy confrontation and eventually earn the respect we deserve from, not only China, but also from all other nations that trade unfairly with the United States. In the end, we will thank President Trump for ending years of direct, blatant assault on our economy and elevating the needs of hard-working Americans above all else.
Evan Stern can be reached at email@example.com.