Sen. Graham: 'How Do You Get China to Change Without Creating Some Pain on Them and Us?'

Susan Jones | August 26, 2019 | 5:37am EDT
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

( - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) acknowledged on Sunday that trade wars hurt everyone involved in them, but in the case of China, tariffs are long overdue and necessary:

"It's a global economy," Graham told CBS's "Face the Nation."

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 require you to have a Chinese business partner when you do business in China, and they steal all of your stuff. Every Democrat and every Republican of note has said China cheats.

The Democrats for years have been claiming that China should be stood up to. Now Trump is, and we just got to accept the pain that comes with standing up to China. How do you get China to change without creating some pain on them and us? I don't know.

Graham said American consumers will start pay more for some items:

"We're now at that part in the trade war where you feel price increases at Walmart. The president has backed off because he's worried about the Christmas shopping season."

Graham continued:

I would tell you, Mr. President, listen, you got more bullets than they do. They sell us a lot more stuff than we sell them. And the goal is 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. Until they feel the pain, they're not going to stop.

They -- they need to change their intellectual property theft practices. They need to open up their markets to us. They need to become a reliable trading partner, rather than a mercantile system that cheats everybody out of market share.

Graham said China won't stop its abusive behavior "until they pay a heavier price." And with the 2020 election a little over a year away, Graham said he believes the Chinese are playing a waiting game:

"I think they've made a calculation that our elections are right around the corner. They can play this game to 2020. If Trump keeps piling on, I don't know if they can make it that long, because the supply chain is beginning to move.

The more expensive it -- you -- to produce products in China, the more likely you are to relocate the supply chain, which would be a death blow to the Chinese economy."

Graham noted that he cosponsored a bill with House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) years ago to label China as a currency manipulator would have placed a 27.5 percent tariff on every Chinese product that benefited from currency manipulation.

"Bush would never do it. Obama would never do it. Trump did it," Graham said. "So to my Democratic colleagues, he's doing the things you've been calling for all these years."

Graham said more recently, he introduced a bill that allows the U.S. to charge the same tariffs as the country with which the U.S. is doing business. He noted that in the case of India, that would mean 100 percent tariffs in some cases.

"Either we increase tariffs on Indian products or we all go to zero. The goal is to go to zero," he said.


mrc merch