06.12.2019 0

After voting for NAFTA, PNTR with China, and proposing TPP, now Biden agrees with Trump on China and trade?

By Robert Romano

Former Vice President Joe Biden wants a do-over on China apparently.

In May, Biden said at a campaign stop in Iowa, “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man…they can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west… they can’t figure out how they’re going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not, they’re not competition for us.”

This was similar to the old bravado of former President Barack Obama, who Biden served with as Vice President, who always excused his globalism with similar hand-wavery, saying something like we had the biggest economy or the biggest military by a long shot, followed with the obligatory, “It’s not even close!”

Biden’s “not competition” statement dovetailed on comments he made in a fundraising call in April, wherein he claimed, “I get calls from people all over the world — world leaders are calling me — and they’re almost begging me to do this, to save the country, save the world.”

Save the world? World leaders begging him to run? What is Biden running for, President of the World?

Apparently, somebody in the Biden campaign determined that this was not a good tact against President Donald Trump — who won the election in 2016 by securing the Electoral College votes of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan by running against globalism and an America first philosophy on trade — and so Biden has been given a new script.


 

On June 11, Biden has changed his tune, saying in Iowa, “We are in a competition with China. We need to get tough with China. They are a serious challenge to us, and in some areas a real threat.”

Yeah, we knew that already, Joe.

China was granted permanent normal trade relations in 2000 and admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2001. Since then, U.S. global manufacturing market share has dropped from 13.4 percent to 7.5 percent in 2017, according to World Bank data. China has risen from 5.3 percent to 16.6 percent in 2017 as companies moved there, hollowing out the Rust Belt, although their percent of global manufacturing market share has peaked in 2015 at 18.8 percent.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning blasted Biden in a statement, saying, “Where the heck has the former Vice President been for the past fifteen years while trade policy toward China, including under Obama and Biden, was hollowing the U.S. out?”

Manning added, “America faces an existential threat to our economic health posed by a Chinese government which wants continued access to our markets but does not want to respect our basic principles of intellectual property rights… Joe Biden cannot escape the fact that he served as Vice President and before that as both Chairman and ranking member on the Senate Foreign Services Committee during China’s rise, never apparently noticing that China’s unfair trade practices were in fact eating the lunch of America’s workers in the heartland.”

That’s very much true. When permanent normal trade relations with China came up in Sept. 2000, Biden voted for it.

For that matter, in Nov. 1993, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came up in the Senate, Biden voted for it.

It was under Obama and Biden that the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement was pursued.

And now, with that record, he has to run against President Donald Trump in 2020, who core ethos is tough on trade. Who can blame Biden for realizing he needs a makeover?

Thing is, voters, particularly those in the Rust Belt, have learned that on trade talk is cheap. Democrats have been claiming to be tough on trade for a generation, but they’ve failed. That’s one of the biggest reasons Trump won in 2016. Now, Biden wants a do-over. Of course he does, but he can’t change who he is. Lunch Bucket Joe? When we examine Biden’s actual policies on trade he has embraced his whole career, China would eat Biden’s lunch, and make him pay for the bucket.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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