October 18, 2019

New Op-ed: 3 steps toward independence from China

3 steps toward independence from China

Originally published by WND

The House of Representatives passed the Hong Kong Freedom and Democracy Act in solidarity with the protesters who are fighting Communist China.

In response, Beijing has threatened to retaliate. Against us, not the protesters.

Maybe they expect us to act like LeBron James. Good luck with that.

Unlike pampered celebrities, the American people don't like threats and don't like to be pushed around.

The Chinese Communist Party has learned nothing from its previous attempts at intimidation. It expected economic sanctions on American farmers would split them from President Trump. That didn't work.

And the threats the CCP leveled at the NBA repulsed all Americans. As did the cowardice of the millionaire athletes who, like so many American companies, put profit before principle and kowtowed to Communist bosses.

It's become increasingly clear to a growing majority of Americans that Communist China does not have our best interest at heart.

It also clear that it's well past time we reassert our independence and cut our economic ties with that foreign tyranny.

So the process happens organically and we suffer as little harm as possible, there are three things we should do – Incentivize, Identify and Unify.

First, we need to give the business community incentives to move their supply chains out of China.

Making the tariffs now in place permanent is one such step. This would give business the certainty to invest in new plants.

Some of these plants would be in the United States. Others, in the garment sector for example, might be in low-wage Central American countries. That would still be a boon to Americans.

Textile mills in the Carolinas would supply cut-and-sew shops in Honduras and El Salvador. Those garment workers would not be bum-rushing our border.

Another incentive: honest and consistent accounting rules for Chinese and U.S. companies. Chinese companies listed on American exchanges need to be transparent (they aren't) and open their books to U.S. regulators (they don't) as American companies are required to do.

The EQUITABLE Act sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) would require China-based companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to comply with American laws and regulations for financial transparency and accountability - or be delisted. 

In addition, U.S. companies need to be transparent about their investments in China. The fact is, they cannot get cash out of China. Those assets are illiquid and should be counted as Level 3 assets, in accounting parlance. That would directly affect executive compensation and as such would be a strong incentive for C suites to invest somewhere other than the People's Republic.

Second, we need to identify potential shortfalls in what we're sourcing from China. Experts in defense, health care, telecommunications and other industries can catalogue what we make in America, what's available from allies and what we are dependent on China for and need to replace. (In the case of medicines, it is frighteningly a lot.)

Finally, and most important, we must unify.

We must bring left and right, Democrats and Republicans, so we stand together as one country while the Chinese Communist Party and its agents try to sow political division.

This means helping those who are going to be hurt the most, as we've seen with farmers, so no one bears too heavy a burden in what will be a long fight. It might mean a tax write-off for new plant and equipment as capital-intensive industries rebuild their supply chains within our borders.

Those who say business can't move its supply chains are wrong – we moved them to China a few years ago and they can move them again.

Then, our communities will have prosperity instead of poverty; our people will have work and dignity instead of drugs and despair.

With work comes the ability to provide for oneself and one's family.

That is a solid foundation for liberty, independence and hope – as an individual, as a people and as a nation.

This is for certain: We can do this. We must do this. And we will be stronger for it.

-Curtis Ellis is Senior Policy Director for America First Policies.


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