Clinton to blame for current fight with China, not Trump

The former president helped push the World Trade Organization to include China.

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Rich Elfers’ column, “From trade to race relations, can the U.S. take any more ‘change’?” published Aug. 21, 2019.

When chickens come home to roost. Again, The Courier-Herald’s Mr. Elfers, is not totally correct with his biased opinions. He is continuing once more to not do his homework and only provides his filtered view. He does not tell the whole story.

Mr. Elfers claims that the current tariffs on Chinese goods are the fault of Donald Trump. They are not. In 2000, under Bill Clinton’s administration, China was given entry into the WTO (World Trade Organization) and granted a most favored nation status. Tariffs were still imposed on goods from China, but at a very low rate allowed for WTO members. Advocates at the time sold the China WTO inclusion as an opportunity for U.S. trade and to focus on intellectual skills and management know-how rather than routine labor. As expected, the labor unions were totally against it. What resulted is a loss of jobs and U.S. dollars to cheaper labor and products in China.

The flow of billions of American dollars has also dramatically increased to China without the reciprocal flow of Chinese yuan into the U.S. China is not buying our products, few as they are. The U.S. is getting drained of its wealth because of Clinton’s administration pushing the inclusion of China into the WTO. It has not worked out as the Democrats and Clinton said it would.

Trump is attempting to rectify the damage caused by Clinton. After economic talks with China, it was agreed that China would begin to buy U.S. goods, most notably, soybeans and pork. The talks were over a year ago. China has not kept their part of the agreement. Now, in order to protect the U.S. economy, tariffs are being put into place.

People are upset over a 10 percent tariff on Chinese products. Instead, they should be upset over the damage to our economy caused by Clinton. They should be upset over the clothing designers who farmed out the manufacture of our clothing to China. We should be upset over the loss of our heavy industries like steel, aluminum, automobile, farm and office equipment.

Tariffs have been around since George Washington. Initially, it was a tax to provide money for the operation of the federal government. It wasn’t until the nation agreed to an income tax did the need for tariffs diminish. After the development of a nationwide income tax, the need for tariffs shifted to protecting the U.S. economy. Historically, tariffs were as much as 50 percent of the value of the imported good. Trump is currently asking for only a 10 percent tariff on Chinese products. China is not trading fair and we need to protect our U.S. wealth.

So, Mr. Elfers, this chicken is coming home to roost. Not because of Trump, but because of Clinton and the Democrats in Congress who were wrong about how including China in the WTO would be to our benefit.

Frank Prohaska

Buckley


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