Rubio: Beat China via Free Trade and Passing Trans-Pacific Partnership, Not Self-Destructive Protectionism
In confronting the growing challenge of China, as with Japan in the 1980s and other challengers in the past, the easy and simplistic response is to advocate protectionism. But America remains the most prosperous and innovative nation in human history on the basis of free trade, not protectionism. If closing borders to trade was the path to prosperity, then North Korea would be a global exemplar.
On that chord, Senator Marco Rubio (R – Florida), set to give a much-anticipated foreign policy speech on the campaign trail today, offers a refreshing commentary in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled “How My Presidency Would Deal With China.” In his piece, Rubio advocates free trade and passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership as effective tools for confronting China, resisting the cheap and easy protectionist platitudes:
My second goal is protecting the U.S. economy. For years, China has subsidized exports, devalued its currency, restricted imports and stolen technology on a massive scale. As president, I would respond not through aggressive retaliation, which would hurt the U.S. as much as China, but by greater commitment and firmer insistence on free markets and free trade. This means immediately moving forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements.”
Protectionism and irrational alarm over trade balance only serve to undermine American growth. After all, the 1930s Great Depression in the U.S. witnessed trade surpluses in 102 of that decade’s 120 months. The better answer is to maintain America’s standing as a nation of free trade, through which we will overcome today’s challenges just as we have previous decades’ similar challenges.