WASHINGTON—After a House hearing on U.S.–China relations on May 8, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said that not only are tariffs on Chinese goods necessary, but sanctions and punishments are long overdue.
Speaking after the hearing “Smart Competition: Adapting U.S. Strategy Toward China at 40 Years,” Perry said he hopes to work with other House members on bipartisan legislation regarding relations with China.
He said that although many ordinary Chinese people are capitalistic and embrace many Western values, the United States isn’t dealing with those people on decision-making levels; what the United States is dealing with is the oppressive Chinese communist regime.
“So it starts out with how we characterize them,” he said.
Perry said sanctions and punishments—and not tariffs—are what’s needed with regard to what the Chinese communist regime has been doing, such as undermining U.S. sanctions over North Korea, stealing U.S. technology, and other actions.
“It is time now to sanction China, which is to punish. Not just tariffs, but to punish. To punish for their malign activities,” he said.
“It’s long overdue. I understand that China has been given a long leash over many, many years now, to do the things that they’ve done. And this president has worked diligently on a reasonable time frame to say, ‘Hey, there’s a new sheriff in town. We’re no longer going to put up with this abuse of sending fentanyl into our country, stealing our property, taking our jobs.’”
Perry said the United States must show China that “we are serious about that. ”
“First of all, we should have reciprocity on visas from China. We should have the same freedom of movement in China that Chinese visa recipients have in the United States of America. That’s an easy number one,” he said.
“Number two, China can no longer be allowed to wash their dirty money from illicit activities in American banks and the American financial system. The first thing begins with penalties. The second phase would be a lack of access to financial markets in the United States. The American people and the American taxpayer shouldn’t be supporting malign Chinese activities.”
Perry said the United States shouldn’t tolerate human rights violations in China, either.
“Once again, America has to be that beacon on the hill of freedom,” he said. “You give them a reasonable amount of time to be good neighbors and a good host to the people in their country. But when they fail to comply, and have no interest in compliance, you have to seek other methods.”
Perry said that based on what was said during the hearing, representatives from the Democratic Party are also interested in imposing sanctions on China.
“I’ve seen very affirmatively that there are friends on the other side that are interested in the same things that our side is interested in. I think there’s an opportunity here, in a time of little bipartisanship, to work on something collaboratively, and send that to the president. So I’m encouraged by that. Now, I’m going to have a conversation with some of these members today,” he said.
Perry said that the trade talk with China was very “tough,” but signals must be sent.
“I am not a fan of tariffs. China has to understand that America is going to assert its economic independence in this regard. We are not to be taken advantage of.”
President Donald Trump has given China enough time to transition to a new way of doing things, Perry said. “Let’s be clear. No president other than this one has attempted this in the past. If you’re China, you say, well, they’re not serious about it. They’ve never done it before. And they really don’t like the tariffs. They’re hard on their business. And China is going to try to wait us out. So, I think they’re making a mistake.”
Perry said he hopes that the president will ensure, by increasing the pressure, that the Chinese know that they’re making a mistake. And the United States must be prepared to implement punishments and enforcement, he added.