China has had the trade advantage with the United States for decades. Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan says it’s time to change that and create a level playing field.
Sullivan and Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland introduced the True Reciprocity Act of 2023, legislation to address a significant imbalance in the relationship between the United States and China in trade, media, and non-governmental organization activity.
Specifically, the legislation directs the Biden administration to develop an in-depth report to Congress detailing the lack of reciprocity in these areas and a strategy for addressing them.
In 2022, U.S. exports to China totaled $153.8 billion, an increase of 1.6% ($2.4 billion) from 2021; U.S. imports from China totaled $536.8 billion, an increase of 6.3% ($31.8 billion).
The trade deficit with China was $382.9 billion, an increase of 8.3% from 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security.
“For decades, American citizens, businesses and organizations operating in China have faced significant restrictions and censorship, in sharp contrast to the treatment faced by their CCP counterparts who operate largely unencumbered in the United States,” Sullivan said.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. consumers benefited from the flood of cheaper goods, but millions of Americans lost their jobs due to import competition.
“The United States has long accused China of pressuring American companies to hand over their technology, or pilfering it outright,” the council reported in September. “The optimism that accompanied China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) twenty years ago vanished as Beijing embraced state-led development, pouring subsidies into targeted industries to the detriment of U.S. and foreign companies. Meanwhile, investment by Chinese companies has raised national security concerns.” As U.S. President Joe Biden embraces an increasingly aggressive approach, the future of the economic relationship is uncertain.”
Sullivan wants to address that with steps that tamp down the excessive influence of China.
“Our government has raised this lack of reciprocity with the most senior government and CCP officials, and these officials have consistently committed to leveling the playing field but never take concrete actions to right this wrong. In fact, the imbalance continues to worsen—in favor of the CCP. The result is an unacceptable, unreciprocated level of CCP access and influence in the U.S,” Sullivan said.
It is up to Congress to establish the principle of reciprocity, and protect the interests of American citizens and businesses, Sullivan said.
“Senator Van Hollen and I are continuing to push this very basic concept, the lack of which puts the U.S. at considerable disadvantage in our global competition with China. We encourage our colleagues to join us in pursuing a bilateral relationship defined by something understood by every American citizen: reciprocity and fairness.”
The full text of the bill is available here.