Top level US trade delegation will head to Beijing

Global Business

The talks are seen as key to stave off proposed tariffs on up to $150 billion worth of Chinese imports into the U.S. Headed by the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin the team also includes so-called “China hawks.”

CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross are well known in the U.S. and beyond. The newest member of the team is less known- Larry Kudlow the new Director of the White Houses’ National Economic Council. He was an official in the Reagan administration, but he is best known for his decades on cable TV and his strong stance on free trade. He has very different views from the two so-called “China hawks” on the trip who deserve a much closer look.

Robert Lighthizer is the U.S. Trade Representative- responsible for negotiating trade deals. His early experience came during the Reagan administration- negotiating bilateral agreements on steel, cars and agricultural products, and would also negotiate Japanese import quotas. In the private sector, he practiced international trade law.

He has criticized China’s entry into the World Trade Organization and has advocated a more adversarial approach to Beijing.

“Our view is that we have a very serious problem of losing our intellectual property, which is really the biggest single advantage of the American economy, in my opinion, is our intellectual property and our ability to generate new intellectual property. We are losing that to China in ways that are not reflective of economic– of the underlying economics”, Lighthizer said.

When it comes to being a fierce critic of China, perhaps no one at the White House is more so than Peter Navarro the director of trade and industrial policy.

He is infamous for his book, which was turned into a documentary called, “Death by China.” The film has been debunked by many economists, but Donald Trump saw it and liked it. “Death By China” was funded in part by U.S. steel giant Nucor to the tune of a million dollars.

Navarro believes China is solely responsible for the U.S. manufacturing decline. His views are so extreme that he even gets push back on the conservative pro Trump TV network Fox News.