Build Trade Relations with China, Not Trade Barriers

  History cannot help us see the future, but it can help us avoid the mistakes of the past. The Senate passed, and the majority of the House would support, legislation that will penalize China for keeping its currency undervalued and enable trade tariffs, but risks ill will and a trade war with China. This is a mistake. We should not be in the scape-goating business, but should take care of our own affairs. The United States will grow and add jobs as we adopt policies and pass legislation that support our economy. Imprudent protectionist measures move us in the wrong direction. The relevant history lesson is the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which contributed to the length and severity of the Great Depression. Putting up trade barriers and risking a trade war with China is fraught with danger in our weak global economy. The global engines of economic growth are the United States, Europe and Asia, which is led by China. In 2010 the United States imported over $360 billion of goods from China. We in turn exported over $90 billion of goods to China, our third largest export market and one that continues to grow as China’s economy expands. An indication of the size of the U.S. market and its importance to U.S. companies – GM now sells as many cars in China as it does in...

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