Chinese politics: no time for mixed messages


Yesterday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo issued a stern warning that if China goes ahead with its plans for China to supply Russia with products blocked by Western sanctions, China could find itself in violation of those sanctions. penalties. But a close look at two Chinese bills destined for the House-Senate conference reveals alarming mixed signals.

The Senate bill, which was originally an industrial policy act, is called the US Innovation and Competition Act, or USICA. It was cobbled together by Chuck Schumer, to get maximum Republican support.

USICA passed the Senate on June 8 by an impressive 68-32 margin. But to get that support from Republicans and corporate Democrats, Schumer had to include several objectionable features that actually help China.

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The counterpart adopted by the Chamber, the COMPETES law, is much better. For example, the House version removes a loophole that allows Chinese exports with a declared value of less than $800 to pass into the United States without inspection.

Among the offensive provisions of the Senate bill are sections that roll back labor standards from those Democrats included in the revised NAFTA deal, and expand Section 301 tariff waivers. for American companies that have failed to diversify supply chains outside of China. The Senate bill also includes the Toomey Amendment, which eliminates all existing tariffs, including on China, on a long list of medical products, drugs and PPE.

Big Tech also introduced a sneaky provision into the Senate bill that appears to crack down on Chinese censorship, but actually blocks European regulation of excesses by platform monopolies. In short, much of the Senate bill contradicts the Biden administration’s China policy.

Here is a more detailed analysis of the two bills, by the indispensable Lori Wallach of RethinkTrade.org. Now is not the time to let industry lobbyists decorate a US competitiveness bill with provisions that further open US markets to Chinese profiteering.

If there was any doubt about the fifth column of American lobbyists who serve the interests of Beijing, the maneuvers around this bill prove it. President Biden and his top aides must play a meaningful role, making it clear what he will sign and what he will veto.

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