Florida’s Scott Questions US Response to China’s Failure to Comply With Trump Trade Deal

By Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Congressional Correspondent
Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times.
December 21, 2021 Updated: December 21, 2021

China has bought just over half the U.S. goods and services it agreed to purchase under phase one of the landmark trade deal negotiated by President Donald Trump, and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wants to know what President Joe Biden is doing about it.

“As part of the Phase 1 trade agreement with the U.S., Communist China agreed to a target purchase of $378 billion worth of manufactured, agricultural and energy goods. Since October 2021, it has only purchased $210.4 billion—just 56 percent of its committed purchases,” Scott told U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai in a Dec. 20 letter.

“It is abundantly clear that Communist China has not complied with the Phase 1 trade deal, and given their track record of lying and cheating, it’s doubtful they ever will.”

Scott said he worries that “as Beijing fails to uphold its end of the bargain and hurts American workers, the Biden administration is taking actions, like ending the Keystone Pipeline XL, which are killing American jobs and thereby doing the bidding of General Secretary Xi and weakening the American economy.”

“The American people, who’ve been harmed by the Chinese Communist Party’s economic wrongdoing, deserve to know how this administration is holding the Communist Chinese government accountable.”

To that end, Scott asked Tai for written responses to the following questions:

“How many high-level trade related discussions has the Biden administration had with Communist China? Please specify what plans exist for future trade discussions.

“In detail, describe the Biden administration’s current and future plans to crack down on Communist China’s illegal trade practices, including what plans, if any, exist to inform the public about Beijing’s failure to uphold the Phase 1 trade agreement. Please include information on how Beijing’s human rights abuses inform the Biden administration’s approach to trade.

“Assuming that President Biden will quickly sign the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law, how do you plan to immediately implement the provisions of the bill and ensure goods entering the United States from Communist China are free from Uyghur slave labor?

“How does the Biden administration plan to address Communist China’s manufacturing and exportation of fentanyl in our trade strategy?

“Does the Biden administration support a free trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan?

“Do you believe that the WTO should continue to classify Communist China as a ‘developing nation?’ If not, what steps are you taking to push the WTO to alter its designation?”

A USTR spokesman didn’t respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment about the Scott letter and questions.

In a fact sheet on its 2021 trade agenda, however, Tai pledged that “the Biden Administration recognizes that China’s coercive and unfair trade practices harm American workers, threaten our technological edge, weaken our supply chain resiliency, and undermine our national interests. The ongoing comprehensive review of U.S. trade policy toward China is integral to the development of the administration’s overall China strategy.

“The Biden Administration is committed to using all available tools to take on the range of China’s unfair trade practices that continue to harm U.S. workers and businesses. It will also make it a top priority to address the widespread human rights abuses of the Chinese government’s forced labor program that targets the Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and elsewhere in the country.”

Trump signed the phase one deal with China in January 2020 after imposing tough sanctions in response to multiple violations by Beijing of prior agreements and international trade standards. Trump promised to end the sanctions once a phase two deal was reached between the United States and China. Biden has said he will maintain the Trump-era tariffs on Chinese products imported into the United States.

Mark Tapscott
Congressional Correspondent
Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times.