On China, Workers Need More Than Promises

International President Leo W. Gerard and progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall last week discussed trade negotiations with China, and the administration’s troubling decision to trade a position of power for more empty promises.

During recent talks between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Chinese trade representatives, Mnuchin seemed to walk back many of the tariffs the president had announced for Chinese goods.

“There’s been too much of the president making verbal commitments that don’t get followed through,” said Gerard.

Part of the reason, Gerard said, is that the competing factions within the administration cannot agree on a sound trade policy.

“Steve Mnuchin and others are blind free traders,” said Gerard. “When they’re part of the negotiations, you can be sure they’re not going to do anything to undermine their Wall Street buddies or do anything for Main Street.”

The president also seems unduly concerned with protecting Chinese rather than American jobs, specifically regarding the large electronics company ZTE, which had been penalized for violating sanctions against countries like North Korea and Iran.

“He told Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, to get this thing resolved quickly because China was losing too many jobs on this,” said Gerard. “That’s literally what he said.”

Instead, the United States needs a trade policy that will consistently advocate for its own workers, even if it means individual members of Congress or the administration might have to forego opportunities to further enrich themselves.

“Why do you think our bridges are falling down? Why do you think we haven’t had real wage increases since the mid-70s?” said Gerard. “Because we’ve embarked on this stupid trade regime that does nothing for workers and lines the pockets of the already rich and powerful.”

“Somebody ought to have some guts and stand up for the country, stand up for the workers,” Gerard said. 

Click here to check out the Twitter poll Marshall posed to her Twitter followers on the subject.

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