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Graham On US-China Trade War: ‘Until They Feel The Pain, They’re Not Going To Stop’

  • South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday that U.S. consumers would have to be willing to feel some pain in order to make China finally end its unfair trading practices. 
  • Graham commended Trump for labeling China a currency manipulator, something he said Bush and Obama weren’t willing to do. 
  • China announced on Friday a 25% tariff on American automobiles and more tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods. Trump responded hours later with additional tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports. 

South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said that Americans would have to be ready to tighten their belts in order to make China’s government change their unfair trade practices.

“I’m glad American companies are in China doing business because there’s a lot of customers. What I don’t like is they close off markets to the American business community in China. They’re required to have a Chinese business partner when you do business in China, and they steal all of your stuff,” Graham said Sunday while speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation. “How do you get China to change without create some pain on them and us? I don’t know.”

The South Carolina lawmaker was speaking about the escalating trade war between the Trump administration and the Chinese communist government.

President Donald Trump on Friday announced he would raise existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from 25% to 30%, with the hike beginning on October 1. Another $300 billion worth of goods from China were to be slapped with a 10% tariff on September 1 — Trump said Friday this tax will now be 15%.

The announcement was in response to China’s decision earlier that morning to slap all American automobiles with a 25% tariff, and a 5% to 10% tariff on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports. These tariffs came after Trump jokingly told a gaggle of reporters that he was “the chosen one” to take on China’s controversial trade practices.

Graham made the case Sunday that, while the trade war will ding U.S. consumers, the White House should stay the course because it’s in a better standing compared to China, which exports many more products to the U.S. than the other way around.

“The goal is to get them to change their behavior. The Chinese government, the Chinese army, and the Chinese business community are one and the same. They’re very mercantile. You don’t have these disputes among democracies. But the Chinese communist party runs everything in China,” Graham said. 

Until they feel the pain, they’re not going to stop. They need to change their intuct intellectual property theft practices. They need to open their markets markets to us,” the senator continued. “They need to become a reliable trading partner rather than a mercantile system that cheats everybody out of market share.”

Beijing and Washington, D.C. have been negotiating extensively on trade since 2018. There have been instances where China offered a few concessions, such as agreeing to purchase more U.S. agricultural and industrial products, allow more access to Chinese markets, and abide by more property theft cybersecurity rules. (RELATED: Trump is Winning the Trade War with China)

However, talks have continually reached an impasse. Graham surmised that the Chinese government may now be waiting Trump out until the next election passes.

The South Carolina Republican commended Trump for getting tough with the Communist country, unlike past presidents.

“I had a bill with Chuck Schumer seven or eight years ago to label China a currency manipulator, and put a 27.5% tariff on every product that benefited from currency manipulation,” Graham said Sunday. “Bush would never do it. Obama would never do it. Trump did it. To my democratic colleagues: He’s doing the things you’ve been calling for all these years.”

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