What’s Biden’s Plan to Stop CCP’s Unfair Trade Practices? Sen. Scott Asks US Trade Chief

By Michael Washburn
Michael Washburn
Michael Washburn
Freelance Reporter
Michael Washburn is a New York-based freelance reporter who covers China-related topics. He has a background in legal and financial journalism, and also writes about arts and culture. Additionally, he is the host of the weekly podcast Reading the Globe. His books include “The Uprooted and Other Stories,” “When We're Grownups,” and “Stranger, Stranger.”
December 21, 2021 Updated: December 21, 2021

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Dec. 21 sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tsai demanding answers about how the Biden administration plans to respond to Beijing’s chronic violation of the terms of its World Trade Organization (WTO) membership and failure to comply with the phase one U.S.-China trade agreement.

Coming just days after the 20th anniversary of China’s admission to the WTO, the letter calls attention to a range of abusive and illegal practices on the part of Beijing, from intellectual property theft to causing the loss of millions of U.S. jobs and failing to follow through on a target purchase of $378 billion worth of U.S. goods as agreed under phase one trade deal signed in January 2020.

The letter also references the ongoing use of slave labor and the broader issue of Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghurs of Xinjiang.

“Earlier this year, I was pleased to support your nomination as U.S. Trade Representative, and have been encouraged by your tone on how the United States must address the challenges posed by Communist China,” Scott writes in his letter to Rep. Tsai.

“Unfortunately, as Communist China celebrates the 20-year anniversary of its admission into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and President Biden concludes his first year in office, I remain gravely concerned that he, and this administration more broadly, has yet to commit to a strong and consistent strategy to combat Communist China’s unfair trade practices which harm American families and businesses of all sizes.”

In Scott’s view, it is clear with 20 years’ hindsight that the much-touted admission of China to the WTO has ushered in a spate of negative consequences for American companies and workers. The letter cites Economic Policy Institute figures indicating that, as of 2020, the U.S. trade deficit with China translated into the loss of 3.7 million American jobs over the period from 2001 to 2018.

“This should come as no surprise given our nation’s unwillingness to consistently hold Communist China accountable over the past two decades for stealing American technology and refusing to open its markets to foreign goods, as required under the WTO,” the letter continues.

Scott goes on to demand answers from Tsai to a number of questions, including how many trade-related discussions at the top diplomatic levels have taken place between the Biden administration and the regime of Xi Jinping; how the Biden administration plans to address the Chinese Communist Party’s illegal trade practices and violation of the phase one accord; how the administration will address Uyghur slave labor if, as expected, it signs the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law; how it will address Beijing’s manufacturing and exportation of fentanyl; and whether the Biden administration favors a free-trade accord between the United States and Taiwan.

The full text of Senator Scott’s letter is available here.

Tsai’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Michael Washburn
Freelance Reporter
Michael Washburn is a New York-based freelance reporter who covers China-related topics. He has a background in legal and financial journalism, and also writes about arts and culture. Additionally, he is the host of the weekly podcast Reading the Globe. His books include “The Uprooted and Other Stories,” “When We're Grownups,” and “Stranger, Stranger.”