Tag Archives: Campaign 2016

Trump adviser Peter Navarro’s Asia policy comments to BBC [transcript]

BBC spoke with Peter Navarro, whom they identify as a policy adviser to Donald Trump, about Asia policy.

The video, published July 24, and my transcription are below.

“If China continues to cheat in the trading arena, we have no other choice but to defend the American people from Chinese cheating. The purpose of a Trump regime is to basically have China play by the rules, which they promised to when they joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. And frankly China has been the biggest cheater in the WTO, as measured by all the complaints that we see filed against them and measured by all the other avenues—illegal export subsidies, intellectual property theft, currency manipulation.”

“Specifically on the international court ruling, the public statement is very simply that we hope that China will abide by international rules and respect the ruling, and we hope and expect that this matter will be resolved peacefully. And at this point, it’s really China’s move. The question is, is China gonna be an aggressive bully in the region and provoke some type of military confrontation, or is China going to be a good citizen member of the international global order and enjoy all the benefits of that in terms of trade and peace? And it’s really up to China.”

“The TPP is gone in a Trump world, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t have really good trade agreements with countries in Asia. I would say to my friends in Asia, don’t worry about Donald Trump abandoning you or leaving you behind. He understands the importance of Asia, markets, resources, alliance, need for peace and prosperity. But the rules have to change. China has to stop cheating and our allied partners have to pay a little bit more of their fair share. It’s very simple.”

Sanders and Clinton on Asia at the New Hampshire debate

Here are some excerpts from the February 4, 2016, Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire, in which Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton comment on China and Asia.

Sen. Bernie Sanders on outsourcing to China

Can I work with corporations? Are there good corporations doing incredible cutting edge research and development? Absolutely they are. And we should be proud of them.

But on the other hand, there are many corporations who have turned their backs on the American worker, who have said, if I can make another nickel in profit by going to China and shutting down in the United States of America, that’s what I will do.

I will do my best to transform our trade policy and take on these corporations who want to invest in low income countries around the world rather than in the United States of America.

and on North Korea…

Clearly North Korea is a very strange situation because it is such an isolated country run by a handful of dictators, or maybe just one, who seems to be somewhat paranoid. And, who had nuclear weapons.

And, our goal there, in my view, is to work and lean strongly on China to put as much pressure. China is one of the few major countries in the world that has significant support for North Korea, and I think we got to do everything we can to put pressure on China. I worry very much about an isolated, paranoid country with atomic bombs.

I think, clearly, we got to work closely with China to resolve the serious problems we have, and I worry about Putin and his military adventurism in the Crimea and the Ukraine.

and on trade…

TODD: If you do that as president, how are you not essentially letting China, who will do all of these deals around the world, how are you going to prevent China from essentially setting the rules of trade for the world?

SANDERS: Chuck, I believe in trade, but I do not believe in unfettered free trade. I believe in fair trade which works for the middle class and working families of this country and not just large multinational corporations.

I was not only in opposition to NAFTA — and this is an area where the secretary and I have disagreements. I was not only in opposition to NAFTA, I was on the picket line in opposition to NAFTA because I understood — I don’t think this is really rocket science.

We heard all of the people tell us how many great jobs would be created. I didn’t believe that for a second because I understood what the function of NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, and the TPP is, it’s to say to American workers, hey, you are now competing against people in Vietnam who make 56 cents an hour minimum wage.

I don’t want American workers to compete against people making 56 cents an hour. I don’t want companies shutting down in America, throwing people out on the street, moving to China, and bringing their products back into this country.

SANDERS: So, do I believe in trade? Of course, I believe in trade. But the current trade agreements over the last 30 years were written by corporate America, for corporate America, resulted in the loss of millions of decent-paying jobs, 60,000 factories in America lost since 2001, millions of decent-paying jobs; and also a downward spiral, a race to the bottom where employers say, “Hey, you don’t want to take a cut in pay? We’re going to China.”

Workers today are working longer hours for lower wages. Trade is one of the reasons for that.

Secretary Hillary Clinton on trade agreements

I did hope that the TPP, negotiated by this administration, would put to rest a lot of the concerns that many people have expressed about trade agreements. And I said that I was holding out that hope that it would be the kind of trade agreement that I was looking for.

I waited until it had actually been negotiated because I did want to give the benefit of the doubt to the administration. Once I saw what the outcome was, I opposed it.

Now I have a very clear view about this. We have to trade with the rest of the world. We are 5 percent of the world’s population. We have to trade with the other 95 percent. And trade has to be reciprocal. That’s the way the global economy works.

But we have failed to provide the basic safety net support that American workers need in order to be able to compete and win in the global economy. So it’s not just what’s in the trade agreement that I’m interested in.

I did help to renegotiate the trade agreement that we inherited from President Bush with Korea. We go the UAW on board because of changes we made. So there are changes that I believe would make a real difference if they could be achieved, but I do not currently support it as it is written.

Jeb Bush on China: Excerpts from CFR

Former Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush discussed foreign policy during an event this week at the Council on Foreign Relations. Here are the passages related to China:

Two comments on the “pivot” concept:

[W]e need to reinvigorate the alliances that have kept us safe. [The word “Japan” does not appear in the transcript. –gw] Across the world, we see doubts about the United States’ role in the world. Do we have people’s back? Are we going to be there to invoke Article 5 of NATO, for example, or have we pivoted to Asia and really done it? These are questions that now are being asked. If you’re Prime Minister Netanyahu, you wonder whether United States—whether there’s light between the United States shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel. The world has been torn asunder. And our alliances have been tattered. And I think it’s important to reinvigorate those alliances if we’re serious about keeping a more peaceful world.

[W]e need to rebuild the military if we’re serious. Look, the president—this president is a phenomenal speaker, and from time to time he maybe gets off-script a little bit and sends signals of strength that have never been backed up. The red line is a good example of that. The pivot to Asia, and Asians are wondering where are we pivoting. First of all, the Europeans wonder, why are you pivoting away? The Asians wonder, where’s the pivot? And there’s no follow-up. The basic fact is that we have great, grandiose language that’s not backed up. And the place to back it up most particularly—not to be the world’s policeman as the president suggests from time to time, but to create a more peaceful world—is to rebuild our military in a way that is serious.

On China’s rise:

BUSH: I think we have—we have global interests. We’re America. We don’t have regional interests; we have global interests. We’re going to have to deal with the emergence of a rising China, or a China that may have economic insecurities and play out in terms of their aggressive nature in the region similar to what Russia is doing. You know, failed domestic policy yields a much more aggressive Russia overseas.

On Donald Trump’s approach:

BUSH: And his spokesman says, well, he doesn’t need to know all the details about it because you just need to know he’ll use it. (Laughter.) That’s not laughable. Someone who proposes a 45 percent tariff across the board on China, it’s not a serious proposal. It’s basically the advocacy of a global depression that will wipe out the middle class in this country and see retaliation that will create—will wreak havoc. I’m the only guy confronting this.

HIATT: So why is he gaining so much traction?

BUSH: I’m the only guy confronting this because people are anxious about their future. They’ve latched onto the large personality on the stage, but the reality is that he’s not a serious candidate. And he’ll get wiped out in the general election. This is not a political gathering, so we can move on, but the simple fact is that we have to restore a traditional role in foreign policy. And you can’t do this by, you know, rambling around, by saying Putin can take care of ISIS; China can take care of North Korea, it’s their problem; and in the same—literally in a 24-hour news cycle, propose a 45 percent tariff on the country that you’re saying it’s your responsibility to take care of North Korea.

There need to be candidates that stand up and saying there’s a better path than the path of the left, which is a path of retrenchment, and the path, you know, in an emerging part of the right that is viewing this where we don’t have a security interest in areas where we do. I think we have to recognize that these threats are real, that they have a huge impact on millions of people in our country, and that the first objective of the president of the United States needs to be to keep us safe. And you can’t keep us safe by talking trash without backing it up with serious plans.

BUSH: Well, I think we need full engagement with the Chinese across the board. I mean, it’s—for a couple of reasons. One, there are—we have a convergence of strategic interests. North Korea would certainly be one of those. Two, there could be huge misunderstandings, because my experience with China—I started traveling there in 2007 three or four times a year. And in talking to people, it became pretty clear, as a neophyte going to China, that they have no clue about us. And frankly, we have no clue about them. And that difference can create all sorts of bad outcomes.

The best example is—it seems like a small thing—in 2009, after the president’s reelection, there was the summit in Palm Springs. And Mrs. Obama didn’t go to the summit, and the glamorous first lady of China went with President Xi. And the scandal in China was that Mrs. Obama and the United States government—and the United States, therefore—were insulting China and its first couple by not having—by not being there.

And every meeting I had in Beijing started out for the first 10 minutes lambasting me about why it was, as an American, why it was that we insulted China. And I’m thinking, you know what, it could be that Mrs. Obama was worried about the science project of Malala (sic). I mean, we’re different. We don’t think the same way they do. I’m sure that they did not, you know, try to go out of their way to insult the country, 1.2 billion or 1.3 billion people of China, or the first couple when they were trying to establish better personal relationships. But that’s how you get into trouble is by not having full engagement.

So, yeah, I mean, we should be engaged to—because we have a mutual security interest as it relates to North Korea. But I think we need to deal with China from a position of strength, not weakness. And everything should be on the table, and it should be done based on mutual respect for sure. But we shouldn’t—we shouldn’t pull back when they attack us in terms of their attacks on cybersecurity, which they continue to do. We shouldn’t pull back when they are challenging the traditional maritime routes that have created prosperity for their own country and hundreds of millions of people being lifted out of poverty, where they’re trying to challenge the legitimacy of international law. We should be—we should be forceful on this.

And we should—if we’re going to pivot to Asia, which I’m not necessarily thinking is appropriate, we ought to be clear about, you know, what our role is in the region, which brings me to another element of how you would, I think, deal with China from a position of strength, which is supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, supporting a free trading agreement. It may not be perfect. And perhaps the next president will have a chance to renegotiate elements of it, just as President Obama did with the trade agreements that his predecessor had on the table for Congress to approve. It could be enhanced and improved.

But the fact is, if we don’t pass this agreement, we’re sending a signal that we’re not serious in Asia. The rest of our allies will basically receive this as a legitimate—and I think they’ll do so legitimately—that we’re leaving. We’re abandoning the region. And that would be an unmitigated disaster. Imagine trading standards that would look more like Chinese. Imagine trading standards in Asia that would not respect intellectual property or environmental challenges or whatever it is. The U.S. trading standards are the ones that create the chance for more people to benefit from them than the Chinese standards. And we should embrace these things, because it’s in our security interest to do so.

HIATT: What’s your sense so far of the current president of China? Do you think he has a good handle on the economic reform process?

BUSH: I’ve met him several times. He’s very dynamic for sure. This command-and-control approach I just—you know, look, I’m a little “l” liberal, entrepreneurial, capitalist-loving, God-fearing American. (Laughs.) I just—I think our system is the best system. Fix our system and it will lead the world.

The command-and-control approach—while China is a very well-organized economy, you can’t manage something as big and as complex as a modern economy from—with, you know, a handful of elites. And the idea that you can intervene in markets and not expect a bad result—trying to restrict capital flows, manipulating the currency perhaps, all of these things end up having a bad result rather than a good result.

The China miracle is phenomenal. It is something to be admired. But I don’t think it’s sustainable in its current form, no matter how impressive President Xi is.

More from the candidates on China is available at ChinaFile, whose tracker led me to look up this full transcript.