China’s President Xi Jinping along with U.S. President Donald Trump attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.
Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images
With trade negotiations between the U.S. along with China stalled along with an escalating trade war threatening global markets, President Donald Trump has said of which the Chinese are “DREAMING” of which he will be defeated by a Democrat in 2020.
however Democrats have not said much about their own plans for negotiating with the Chinese. To learn more, CNBC asked the 21 top Democrats running for president about their views.
We asked them what they believe can be working under Trump — along with what they would certainly change. We also asked whether human rights issues in China, where the U.S. has said more than a million Muslims are held in concentration camps, should be part of any trade deal. Lastly, we asked about what they would certainly do about China’s efforts to tighten its military grip on the South China Sea, where more than $3 trillion of trade passes annually.
Below, unedited, are our questions along with the answers we received through the seven Democrats who responded. Those Democrats are Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam along with spiritual coach Marianne Williamson.
Two various other Democrats provided partial responses.
A spokesperson for Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., provided an excerpt through the senator’s platform of which can be included as a response to the first question.
An aide to Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke wrote in a statement: “Holding China accountable should not come at the expense of American workers. of which can be why we must not settle for any deal of which does not respect intellectual property, level the playing field from the Chinese market, nor end unfair trade practices. We must advance progress based on shared interests along with core democratic values.”
Joe Biden, the Democratic front runner, did not respond to CNBC’s survey as of publication time however has dismissed China’s economic competitiveness while on the campaign trail, earning some criticism through his fellow contenders.
“China can be going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” Biden told a crowd in Iowa earlier of which month. He described himself as a “fair trader” along with said he has been “arguing for a long time of which we should treat various other countries the way in which they treat us, which can be, particularly as of which relates to China: If they want to trade here, they’re going to be under the same rules.”
CNBC provided the questions to each campaign on May 6.
What do you think can be the best approach to addressing China’s practices with regard to intellectual property theft, technology transfer, industrial subsidies along with various other matters in which the two countries are at odds? can be of which through multinational organizations like the globe Trade Organization along with the United Nations? Will you take any action unilaterally? If so, what action?
Sanders: of which can be from the interests of the United States to work to strengthen institutions like the WTO along with the UN rather than trying to go of which alone. American concerns about China’s technology practices are shared in Europe along with across the Asia-Pacific. We can place far more pressure on China to change its policies if we work together with the broader international community along with the various other developed economies. International institutions also offer China a template for reforming its own internal intellectual property along with industrial practices.
Swalwell: I’m a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, along with the Internet, so I’ve seen first-hand the economic espionage of which China commits along with the adverse impact of which has on American businesses. China has not been forthright in even admitting of which intellectual property theft along with technology transfer occurs. Nor can be China transparent on its industrial subsidies. Curbing China’s dishonest practices must be a part of any negotiation; as president, I would certainly hold China accountable.
On the intellectual property theft, we know of which much of the IP theft can be state-backed. In order to combat of which we must take a multi-pronged approach — both defensive along with offensive. We must have a strong enforcement mechanism with which to hold China accountable for their actions along with continue to impose penalties when theft occurs. China has made promises to institute reforms of their policies governing IP rights, technology transfers along with cyber-theft of trade secrets from the past however we know these are not being imposed.
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The legal along with diplomatic approaches have not been completely effective, of which can be critical of which we implement various other actions such as developing early warning systems, particularly when of which comes to the stealing of defense technology. of which can be done through private-public partnerships. We must also be ready to take counter action when a theft can be detected.
of which can be vital of which we continue to have a multinational approach to addressing these issues. We can’t go of which alone; we must involve allies — along with various other victims of China’s practices — such as Japan, South Korea, Australia along with brand new Zealand.
While the U.S. does not have to go through the globe Trade Organization along with can invoke Section 301 if they are to impose tariffs against China (even though of which still has to file a simultaneous complaint with the WTO), the WTO can still be a useful partner. In fact, the WTO has an obligation to enforce the rules they have set up, otherwise of which can be left to the United States to impose punishment. We should hold the WTO to its obligation.
of which can be also important of which U.S. companies acknowledge when theft can be occurring by China. from the past, companies have not wanted to impinge on their business with China so they’ve turned a blind eye. I would certainly ensure of which reporting of which theft of which can be a win-win for American companies through fair trade practices.
Lastly, government departments must coordinate with each various other along with with U.S. companies. The departments of Commerce along with the Treasury, the U.S. Trade Representative along with the U.S. State Department must all be aligned to tackle the problem of IP property theft in coordination with the private sector.
I would certainly continue to make sure the Justice Department brings criminal cases against the companies of which violate trade agreements along with steal our trade secrets along with intellectual property. I would certainly boost our Trade Representative’s investigation of China’s activities by adding more staff along with funding.
Ryan: When of which comes to China stealing intellectual property through the United States, there can be no doubt of which multinational organizations need to play a part in holding them accountable. These actions are a serious national security along with economic risk for the United States. At the same time, I think our government must take further action when of which comes to creating safeguards against China’s actions. of which can be why I have cosponsored legislation the Fair Trade with China Enforcement Act, which would certainly hold China accountable along with create necessary regulations when of which comes to trade with China, including prohibiting the sale of national security sensitive technology along with intellectual property to China.
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Delaney: China has acted like pirates, stealing intellectual property, building illegal islands, along with not playing by the rules. I will build a broad coalition of U.S. allies along with have a unified front against China (of which will involve working with multinational organizations however also doing a lot more), I will unify our business community against these practices by preventing them through depositing intellectual property funded by taxpayers into joint ventures with China, along with I will re-enter the TPP to compete with China. We can hold China accountable along with have a productive relationship with them.
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Moulton: These options aren’t mutually exclusive. We should address cybersecurity along with intellectual property theft issues directly with China along with use the WTO to negotiate trade disputes along with establish clear enforcement mechanisms.
Protecting our international property can be a national security issue, along with we need to build a cyberwall to protect against Chinese along with Russian attacks. We should start by strengthening the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center created under President Obama along with improve the information-sharing between the private sector along with government on cyber threats.
As we press China on trade along with intellectual property theft, we need to demonstrate our resolve in ways of which actually help American workers. Donald Trump has shown he knows nothing about trade. An initial analysis of the net effect of the tariffs can be of which they are costing the United States economy $1.4 billion a month, along with the cost of the tariffs can be being passed on to U.S. farmers, companies, along with consumers.
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The United States led the 15 years of negotiations of which enabled China to join the WTO along with we should reap the benefits of of which successful diplomatic effort. Our negotiators secured unprecedented modifications to China’s economic along with trade policies as conditions for membership, including requiring a dramatic opening of China’s telecom, banking, along with insurance sectors, along with the lowering of tariffs on key agricultural products to almost zero. The point can be: WTO leverage works. China’s membership from the WTO has been a huge boon to the United States, with U.S. exports to China increasing by 500 percent along with agricultural exports increasing by 1000 percent since China joined the organization. Going forward, the WTO should absolutely be involved in establishing trust in trade negotiations along with in providing the mechanisms for the enforcement of trade agreements.
Bennet: Instead of slapping tariffs on our allies along with perpetrating a trade war, Michael believes we need to do the hard work of building coalitions to counter Chinese predatory economic practices, like intellectual property theft along with economic espionage, of which harm American workers, businesses, farmers, along with ranchers.
In order to compete with along with counter an increasingly authoritarian China, Michael believes we must reinvest in our alliances, champion democratic values like the rule of law along with human rights, along with sharpen our efforts to combat technology threats of which undermine U.S. economic along with national security.
Messam: The strained trade relations between the U.S. along with China can be a complex issue of which should be confronted using a measured along with sober disposition. The combined approach of multinational organizations along with unilateral action should be leveraged to protect intellectual property, technology assets, along with trade secrets. Before engaging trade wars of which could have detrimental impacts to American businesses along with our economy, we must seek to solve our trade differences diplomatically. Where multinational organization negotiations don’t work, I would certainly seek specific along with direct trade remedies not limited to:
• blockade on imports of stolen intellectual property
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Williamson: The United States Intellectual Property can be some of the most valued from the globe. According to the USTR, by stealing our intellectual property, China costs American businesses between $225 billion along with $0 billion annually. We must use all tools at our disposal to ensure China respects intellectual property law. of which will include working with along with leveraging the power of the international community to make certain of which China engages in fair trade.
The U.S. government must also enlist the help along with cooperation through American businesses to help solve of which problem. Increased internal controls, more robust screening along with standardized best practices will make of which more difficult for Chinese agents to operate. Many opportunities are a matter of simple theft. More diligence will help curb crimes of opportunity.
Lastly, a firm no nonsense stance against China on every front will be necessary to send a clear message of which these practices won’t be tolerated.
Should a trade deal with China address human rights issues? If not, will your administration address human rights in China along with, if so, how?
Sanders: Yes. Labor protections are very weak in China, along with the rights of workers are an essential component of human rights. The Trump administration has proven itself indifferent to labor rights, along with apparently would certainly prefer of which American workers are reduced to the position of Chinese workers, rather than of which labor everywhere enjoy basic protections along with strong standard of living. The Trump administration has also done nothing to pressure China over its abhorrent treatment of the Uighur along with Tibetan peoples. Future trade negotiations should, for example, target American corporations of which contribute surveillance technologies of which enable China’s authoritarian practices.
Swalwell: Yes, a trade deal must have a component to address human rights activity. We must be a style for the globe along with call out countries such as China of which violate human rights.
Ryan: Yes. As the United States negotiates any future trade deal with China, we must address the human rights violations. The actions we have seen through the Chinese government when of which comes to the inhumane treatment of the ethnic minorities can be inexcusable. along with no future trade agreement can ignore these violations.
Delaney: Human rights are a priority to the Delaney Administration.
Moulton: Yes. Labor protections along with human rights issues have long been part of U.S. trade agreements. These protections are critical. Enforceable labor protections along with human rights standards not only improve the lives of people overseas, they protect jobs at home by leveling the playing field with American workers. During negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Obama administration compelled Vietnam to reform its labor rights to meet international standards on freedom of association along with collective bargaining.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump seems dedicated to undermining our traditional leadership role on human rights by withdrawing through the UN Human Rights Council. America needs to lead on human rights again.
Williamson: The United States, just a few years ago, stood for human rights, even if we fell short, we worked to do better as a people. of which commitment has been eroded, as we place short term profits over our rights along with leadership to create a more perfect union. The United States should retain the mantle of the top human rights defender from the globe. of which means cleaning up its own house however also demanding of which various other countries adhere to the value of basic human dignity along with human rights protection. The U.S. should use all tools at its disposal, whether of which’s trade deals or diplomatic envoys, to promote along with protect human rights from the globe.
of which can be essential of which we work with all of our foreign trade partners to ensure of which all guarantee human rights for people across the globe. from the case of China, we should leverage our own trade power working alongside all of our allies to promote human rights when discussing trade.
What do you see in America’s current policy approach to China of which can be working? What can be the single most important thing you will change? Who will benefit through your plan along with how?
Sanders: While China has adopted some better practices, of which still features a long way to go. The Trump administration can be correct to put pressure on China to reform its practices, along with I expect of which some Great comes through current trade negotiations. The economic relationship between the United States along with China has been the engine of global growth for the past 25 years, along with we should acknowledge of which in China of which has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. In both China along with the United States, however, the benefits of of which growth have not been shared equally, along with have accrued in a very disproportionate way to the very wealthiest. The problem can be of which the Trump administration can be mainly interested in addressing some of the imbalances between America along with China overall, when of which also needs to address basic drivers of economic inequality. The future of of which relationship requires both a degree of pressure on China, along with reform of the economy inside the United States itself.
Swalwell: I don’t think an all-out trade war with China can be to our benefit. However, imposing targeted tariffs against China can be a tactic of which works to ensure fair trade. America wins when we have fair trade deals. Trump’s negotiating tactics have along with continue to undermine any long-term deal of which could be reach with China.
Again, in striking a deal we must work with our allies who share our concerns including Japan, South Korea, Australia along with brand new Zealand. of which can be important of which our allies hold up their end of any bargain along with stand up to China when of which comes to unfair trade practices.
I will negotiate a trade deal with China of which’s globally beneficial for both countries however includes accountability. While the carrot along with the stick approach might work from the short term, we must strike a long-term deal with China to reduce our trade deficit along with provide a level playing for the future, including getting China to gradually open up their markets.
Ryan: The ad hoc approach to trade with China by the Trump administration has created an economic policy of which has hurt many American industries while creating an unlevel playing field for our American workers. For too long China has succeeded in hurting America’s manufacturing industry by engaging in illegal steel along with aluminum dumping. of which can be why I support targeted tariffs against China’s steel along with aluminum.
However, the lack of strategy has created a reactionary trade policy of which helps no one, along with we cannot negotiate trade through tweets. I have been a long time supporter of taking action against currency manipulation, along with leading legislation of which would certainly impose countervailing duties to offset the impact of manipulation. As president, I will prioritize America’s workers along with industry – manufacturing, agriculture, along with artificial intelligence.
Delaney: Our current policy can be overly focused on the trade deficit, which can be important, however not as significant as intellectual property issues. of which also favors a “go of which alone approach” – which can be wrong. We should work with our allies. Our current policy can be hurting our farmers; I will help farmers by entering TPP.
Moulton: First, we need to recognize of which China poses an economic along with security threat to the United States right currently based on their cyberattacks along with intellectual property theft. China will also be the largest near-peer competitor to the United States for the foreseeable future, so of which can be critical of which we are willing along with able to confront China along with win. of which can be obvious of which Donald Trump’s trade war with China isn’t the answer. of which can be hurting American farmers while China continues to steal American jobs every day through the internet with their cyberattacks designed to take America’s innovative ideas along with military secrets. To confront China, we need to build a cyberwall to ensure of which we can protect our intellectual property; negotiate a trade deal with our allies along with partners from the region with strong labor along with environmental protections of which will deepen along with strengthen our economic foothold across the Pacific; effectively use all of our diplomatic along with economic levers to force China’s compliance with their trade along with legal commitments; along with finally we need to make significant government investments in next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, along with green technology. Winning the competition with China means the next generation of technology will be designed along with built in America, then sold to China along with the rest of the globe.
of which said, China has shown of which they are capable of acting responsibly on the globe stage, especially when the United States demonstrates real leadership. China can be a party to the Iran nuclear deal of which provides clear incentives to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. China also agreed to strict steps to address climate change as part of the Paris Agreement. China has also taken on a leadership role in addressing environmental issues at the UN, filling the leadership void left by the Trump Administration on addressing climate change. A constructive dialogue with China on security along with environmental issues, while competing along with winning on innovation along with cybersecurity would certainly have huge benefits for American workers, the entire U.S. economy, along with on Asia-Pacific security.
What do you see in America’s current policy approach to China of which can be working?
· Negotiations for wider access for western firms.
· Structural reforms to stop the Chinese government’s use of distortive regulations, subsidies, along with JVs of which force technology transfers along with otherwise rig competition for the benefit of preferred, often state-owned or controlled businesses.
What can be the single most important thing you will change?
· Strong labor along with environmental standards along with enforcement of those laws along with standards would certainly be a high priority.
Who will benefit through your plan along with how?
· American Workers would certainly benefit because American workers have suffered due to the lack of global labor along with environmental standards not protecting international workers, putting American labor at a disadvantage where our domestic standards are not reciprocated internationally.
Williamson: The current administration’s purported desire to rein in terrible trade deals can be a Great goal. Standing up for the United States over trading partners who are acting in less than honorable ways can be, on the surface, what a president should do. However, the combination of attempted bullying, erratic behavior along with especially tariffs can be highly counter-productive. We need to end the trade war which was commenced by an administration which was creating enemies to blame for our problems. of which trade war has been hurting U.S. consumers with excess costs for goods along with hurting U.S. farmers by doing our agricultural exports less competitive along with eliminating the Chinese market.
What will you do about China’s efforts to tighten its military grip on the South China Sea, where more than $3 trillion of trade passes annually?
Sanders: The U.S. features a role to play in supporting bilateral along with multilateral diplomacy between China along with others from the region to deescalate along with handle disputes. The best policy in both the near along with long term can be to strengthen international institutions, in of which case the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The United States should press China to abide by internationally agreed guidelines for managing maritime issues, in no smaller part by ratifying UNCLOS itself.
Swalwell: China has been slowly widening its military buildup along with constructing island for military use. of which can be time of which the U.S. lead in a more direct way. While we have been urging various other allies to boost their presence from the area to help keep the waterways open, we have not yet formed a formal coalition with various other countries including Australia, France, Japan, along with England along with the Philippines along with Vietnam. My administration can lead these countries in joint exercises along with various other coalition-building activities, sending a clear signal to China of which these countries will defend their rights to navigate the South China Sea.
Further, China must be held accountable from the eyes of the globe. I would certainly put the South China Sea at the top of an international agenda, in order of which the globe becomes aware of China’s ruthless policies in of which area. We should stand up for our friends in Southeast Asia. The more countries of which are aware, the more heat China will feel both diplomatically along with economically.
Ryan: The actions of China from the South China Sea can be extremely concerning, along with the militarization of the area can be a national along with economic threat to the United States. The actions by China combined using a lack of a comprehensive defense strategy by the United States continues to put the global trade of which utilizes the waterway in jeopardy. We should make every effort to bolster our allies along with various other strategic partners from the region along with strengthen their efforts to oppose China’s militarization of the South China Sea.
Delaney: We need to maintain our significant military presence from the Asia-Pacific region, invest heavily from the technology-based offensive along with defensive weapons of the future, along with work with our allies on initiatives like TPP.
Moulton: The most important thing of which we can do can be support our allies from the region. By failing to stand with our allies, Donald Trump can be inviting countries like Russia along with China to test our resolve. When I was from the Marines, we had a motto for our division: “No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.” When China understands of which we are committed to the region along with the free navigation of the South China Sea, then we can work together to resolve disputes along with ensure of which trade can be not disrupted. China features a huge economic stake in maintaining freedom of navigation from the South China Sea, however we need to have a president capable along with willing to defend the United States along with our interests from the region. I believe of which we should be building a “Pacific NATO” to contain China along with North Korea by formalizing along with strengthening our security relationships with our allies from the region. In various other words, exactly the opposite of what Donald Trump has done by cancelling our military exercises with South Korea along with cutting our allies out of the negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
Williamson: Cooperation can be key. When a country acts aggressively along with in a manner of which can be not in our interest or the interest of peace in a region, the first place to start along with hopefully end can be working with allies to create a climate of peace. from the South China Sea, the best way to curb China’s expansion can be to continue to strongly support our strategic along with trade partners from the area along with to engage the international community to assist in our efforts to prevent of which expansion.