America needs a trade network that creates jobs and benefits our economy and our workers. When we focus on America’s interests, we are also ensuring a secure industrial base for manufacturing and defense. We specifically must reduce our exposure to and dependence on China. For too long, America has shipped jobs overseas to cut costs, while our businesses and workers are crushed by high taxes and job-killing regulations that make it hard to compete. Wealthy global elites have given away America’s future under the guise of “free trade” while strengthening the CCP.
Free trade is only free trade if it’s a level playing field and we need to make sure that nations like China can’t get away with flooding the market using slave labor, as they are in Xinjiang and other places. In demanding accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, policy elites were emphatic that China would open up. But in 2023, it’s obvious the opposite has occurred, as China’s leaders consolidate their already dictatorial powers, deny responsibility for the Wuhan pandemic, seek to undermine America’s status as the world’s reserve currency, and make developing nations indebted to them through debt diplomacy, via its Belts & Roads initiative.
On trade policy, Frank believes it’s time to start caring more about the needs of Ohioans and stop listening to academic elites and elected politicians, like Biden, who still think they can sweet talk the CCP.
In pursuing an America First policy outlook, the U.S. must be willing to impose tariffs on any trading partner who imposes trade barriers on our industries and workers. American workers fuel the largest economy in the world through their hard work and ingenuity. It is time to empower them by insisting on fair trade deals. This would apply even to neighbors, like Mexico, who are seeking to re-nationalize their oil industry and to restrict the import of American agricultural products.
America’s manufacturing base has a fraction of the capacity it did 50 years ago. We can’t let our competitors continue to dominate global production and Frank will support free market tax and regulatory policies that will keep manufacturers from leaving and attract foreign investors to do business here. Frank understands that a strong manufacturing base means a strong national defense. American ships and infrastructure must be made with American steel. Frank will support anti-steel-dumping legislation to ensure America’s steel industry can once again build the world.
International trade is, however, critically important. We need to strengthen our trading relationships with dependable allies, particularly the United Kingdom. Now that the UK has split off from the European Union, a trade deal with the UK should be a top priority.
We also need a focus on critical industrial priorities like semiconductor chips and critical minerals. To the extent we’re able to increase production here at home, that’s good. But we also need to be working with friendly nations around the world to ensure America has guaranteed access to high-tech materials.
America also must advocate for our businesses that export to other markets. We are a dominant producer of agricultural goods, oil and gas, manufactured products, and many other commodities. We must leverage our position to ensure that other countries are not hiking tariffs on our farmers and other producers while expecting us to reduce our tariffs.
America should not be at the mercy of transnational trading bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). International bureaucracies are tremendously wasteful and corrupt and tend to push socialist policies that undermine free markets and take away viable policy options the developing world needs to end poverty.
One way to reduce the risk of these bureaucratic entanglements is for America to focus on bilateral agreements – one-on-one deals with specific countries. That keeps the process transparent – something everyone can understand.
Modern trade, transportation, and technological systems are valuable and allow Americans an opportunity to pursue commerce around the globe. The trade of goods, services, and ideas is far better than conflict and war. As Senator, Frank will work to ensure Americans are doing business with trustworthy partners, hold our trading partners accountable, and adhere to clearly understood agreements that balance our prosperity and our national security.