In short, if one is genuinely committed to free trade, one must also be genuinely committed to ending abuses of its principles.
If I am fortunate enough to be elected president, I will work to fundamentally alter our economic relationship with China. As I describe in my economic plan, I will begin on Day One by designating China as the currency manipulator it is.
More important, I will take a holistic approach to addressing all of China’s abuses. That includes unilateral actions such as increased enforcement of U.S. trade laws, punitive measures targeting products and industries that rely on misappropriations of our intellectual property, reciprocity in government procurement, and countervailing duties against currency manipulation. It also includes multilateral actions to block technology transfers into China and to create a trading bloc open only for nations genuinely committed to free trade.
Free trade is one of the most powerful forces for peace and prosperity the world has ever known. Free trade forges stronger relationships between nations and their peoples. It connects new business ideas with willing consumers. And it strengthens the competition that leads to innovation, efficiency and, ultimately, economic growth and job creation. When one nation is allowed to game the system, however, significant harm can outweigh the expected benefit. To preserve free trade, we must have the courage of our convictions to defend not only its principles but also its practice.
The writer was governor of Massachusetts from 2002 through 2006 and is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
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