U.S. farmers and Ag equipment makers are between a rock and a hard place with China, in need of massive trade there but vulnerable amid the strategic U.S.-China competition. Illinois Rep. Darin LaHood on the Select Committee on U.S.-CCP Competition complained China’s failed to live up to global trading rules since the U.S. agreed to China’s WTO accession in 2001.
LaHood told a Select Committee hearing that’s hurt his farmers and farm equipment makers, now caught in the middle of stiff U.S.-China economic, military, and diplomatic competition. LaHood says, “Corn and soybeans, 40 percent go to China every year. My farmers need to rely on that market to do it. Take your Fortune 200 companies that are heavily invested in China, they’re in bed in many ways with the CCP in terms of their business there. I have the largest concentration of Caterpillar workers anywhere in the world. CAT has 29 manufacturing plants in China.”
LaHood told former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that many in Congress want to go to an economic “Cold War” with China, but Pompeo cautioned the outcome is not just up to the U.S.
Pompeo says, “Don’t count on the fact that it will be a U.S. policy decision that drives them out of the country. We can see this already, today – Executives being detained, products not being permitted to move – the Chinese Communist Party will have a say in the level of disconnection between our two economies. And I think Xi Jinping is intent on making his country more self-reliant.”
LaHood argued his Illinois businesses want Congress to “step on the brakes” a bit in confronting China. Pompeo argues otherwise, saying “So, I would urge those leaders of those businesses to be thinking about alternative markets and how you de-risk your balance sheet from a presence in China today and doing so immediately.”
Former CIA and Defense Chief Leon Panetta agreed with Pompeo, saying the U.S. should use the leverage of moving supply chains out of China if it needs to. Pompeo argued the CCP needs the U.S. more than the other way around.
Story by NAFB News Service