(CNS News.com) – When asked if it is possible for the U.S. to engage in free trade with a communist country such as China, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said, “It is hard to have free trade with a communist country, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.”
At the Capitol on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked Sen. Ernst, “The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2021 was more than $300 billion for the tenth year in a row. Can the United States have free trade with a communist country?”
The senator said, “Oh, yeah, horrible. It is hard to have free trade with a communist country, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. But certainly there needs to be stiff penalties when China doesn’t step up and do the right thing, as they agreed to in the China Phase One Trade Bill.”
As the Census Bureau reported last week, the United States ran a $355,301,700,000 merchandise trade deficit with the People’s Republic of China in 2021, marking the tenth straight year the U.S. trade deficit with China has topped $300 billion. In 2018, the deficit hit an all-time high of $418,232,900,000.
During 2021, the United States exported $151,065,200,000 in products to China, but then imported $506,366,900,000 in products from China, resulting in $657,432,100,000 in total trade between the two countries -- and a $355,301,700,000 deficit for the United States.
In its latest report on human rights in China, the State Department said that China is "an authoritarian state," where the "Chinese Communist Party is the paramount authority." "Significant human rights issues," it said, "included: ... forced labor and trafficking in persons; severe restrictions on labor rights, including a ban on workers organizing or joining unions of their own choosing; and child labor."
Since the Communists took over China in 1949-50, the regime has killed more than 65 million of its own people for political reasons, according to The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press).