Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 6.14.19
Just Outside Washington


On China Trade

Linked below, this podcast features former United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky talking about U.S. trade relations with China. It runs about a half hour and is well worth the time.

Ms. Barshefsky discusses China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and how the U.S. failed to utilize the WTO to its benefit, trying instead to work with China on a bilateral basis. She also discusses the impacts of the U.S. mismanagement of the Great Recession of 2008 on the relations with China and their attitude toward the U.S.

Yes, our economy is doing well now, but the recovery has taken ten years and we still have many problems. Many of these are long standing and will impact the U.S. in the future in both trade and world leadership. These problems, Ms. Barshefsky says, affect our relations with China and the rest of the world, and include: low research and development spending, poor infrastructure, a deteriorating education system, high public debt, etc, etc.

Ms. Barshefsky points out that our mistakes weaken our role as the 'leader of the free world' and provide the basis for China to be much more aggressive in challenging the U.S. Further, U.S. missteps, both internationally and domestically, provide ammunition for the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping to remove the U.S. as a role model and characterize it as an external threat and promote nationalism.

Ms. Barshefsky and the podcast host, David Dollar, discuss the potential for the U.S. and China reaching a trade agreement in the near future. I think that she is spot on when she says, that for a trade deal to happen: 'the United States has to up its game.'

President Trump seems to be ramping up for a trade war with China, after all, he just 'won' one with Mexico, which to me would be a HUGE mistake. However, as Ms. Barshefsky says at the end of the podcast: 'my own view is if you want to start a war, you better make sure you're going to win it.'