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Trade Subcommittee Chairman A. Smith Opening Statement: Countering China’s Trade & Investment Agenda – Opportunities for American Leadership

April 18, 2023

As prepared for delivery.

“Good afternoon. The Subcommittee will come to order. Ranking Member Blumenauer and Subcommittee Members— I look forward to working with you this Congress.

“I’d like to also thank our witnesses for joining us today on such an important topic.

“Today’s hearing examines why the United States must lead on trade, especially in the face of China’s aggressive trade and investment agenda. Concerns about the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence and predatory trade practices are not only shared by every member of this Committee; these concerns are bipartisan and bicameral. We’ve seen firsthand how China seeks to weaponize trade to expand its influence and undercut U.S. workers and values. These actions should create a mandate for the United States of America to lead on trade issues, but unfortunately such a mandate has seemingly gone unnoticed by the Administration.

“Across the board, China seeks to dominate global trade and supply chains. They are using all tools at their disposal to advance their ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative. Today, we will hear why the United States must lead from a position of strength. We can do this by addressing the CCP’ practices directly while simultaneously using trade programs, agreements, and other tools to show we are a reliable and attractive alternative for nations around the world.

“The CCP seeks to erode America’s competitive edge through intellectual property theft, discrimination against American exporters and investors, and a wide range of advantages provided to state-owned enterprises within China. They have made no secret of their desire to replace the United States as the dominant global power. We cannot and will not allow this to happen.

“China continues to grow its global ambitions. Take for example the Belt and Road Initiative, which has become a tool for the CCP to trap partners in developing countries into endless cycles of debt and control. This is happening in every region of the world, from the Indo-Pacific to our own backyard, right here in the Western Hemisphere.

“No country is immune to this aggressive behavior. Partners like Australia, South Korea, and Lithuania have experienced this firsthand. While we can be encouraged these instances of attempted economic coercion backfired, Beijing continues its brazen attempts to bully nations into submission.

“In my view, there’s no treading water on trade matters. You’re either moving ahead or you are losing ground, and right now we are losing ground while China forges ahead with a trade agenda that cheats to shape the global playing field in its favor. Our trading partners around the world are hoping the United States will stand up and provide a unified, bipartisan American trade agenda to hold the CCP and other bad actors accountable. We can do this while partnering in a deeper and more consequential way with our allies. The role of Congress cannot be ignored in this effort, which is why Congress must use its constitutionally given authority to set deliverables and provide critical oversight of all trade matters.

“Crafting a Trade Promotion Authority bill to put Congress in the driver’s seat, reauthorizing critical trade programs aimed at increasing American competitiveness, and continuing efforts to add consequences for China’s trade practices are all things we can and should pursue right now.

“Our trade policy is at its strongest—its most durable, effective, sustainable, and inclusive—when elected representatives are driving and shaping it. We saw this firsthand as this Committee reinvigorated our North American trading relationships through the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. We need to build on and replicate this important work, and I’m confident this Committee can do so. I am excited to get to work.”