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A Congressional Panel Is Questioning China’s Role as a Favored US Trading Partner

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 11/15/2022 Courtney McBride
Vessels loaded with shipping containers are docked at the Yangshan Deepwater Port in this aerial photograph taken in Shanghai, China, on Sunday, July 12, 2020. U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday a phase two trade deal with China isn't under consideration, saying the relationship between Washington and Beijing has deteriorated too much. © Bloomberg Vessels loaded with shipping containers are docked at the Yangshan Deepwater Port in this aerial photograph taken in Shanghai, China, on Sunday, July 12, 2020. U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday a phase two trade deal with China isn't under consideration, saying the relationship between Washington and Beijing has deteriorated too much.

(Bloomberg) -- Congress should consider revoking China’s designation as a favored trading partner, establish an office to safeguard US supply chains and prepare for the defense of Taiwan, according to a panel that advises US lawmakers on the national-security effects of economic relations with Beijing.

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In an annual report released Tuesday, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended that the Biden administration report on Beijing’s compliance with a 1999 agreement to provide US goods and services more market access. If it’s found not to comply, the US should revoke its Permanent Normal Trade Relations status, the panel said. 

The committee, created by Congress in 2000 specifically to review threats posted by China, generally takes a hawkish view of relations with Beijing. Its latest report, prepared before President Joe Biden’s meeting Monday in Bali with China’s President Xi Jinping, is no exception.

On Taiwan, the commission calls for the creation of a Defense Mobilization Unit that can determine what weapons and other equipment are needed for US troops and “to assist friends and partners in the Indo-Pacific region in a potential conflict with the People’s Republic of China, including conflicts of varying duration.” 

The agency calls for increased funding by both the US and Taiwan to support “interoperable and complementary capabilities required for the defense of Taiwan,” and urges the Pentagon to provide a classified report on what would be required to resist a Chinese attack.

At the summit in Bali, the first between the countries’ heads of state since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the US said the two sides would resume cooperation on issues including climate change and food security.

The report issued Tuesday details the increased centralization of authority under Xi and says China poses an urgent threat to US national security. The authors point to Beijing’s exertion of control of Hong Kong, aggressive posture in the South China Sea and expansion of its overseas military presence as evidence of a growing threat to the international order by the Chinese Communist Party.

“China’s cyber operations pose a serious threat to U.S. government, business, and critical infrastructure networks in the new and highly competitive cyber domain,” the commission said. “China enjoys an asymmetric advantage over the United States in cyberspace due to the CCP’s unwillingness to play by the same rules.”

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