Sen. Thom Tillis: ‘I Don’t Think We Can’ Have Free Trade with a Communist Country

Emily Robertson | February 11, 2022 | 3:27pm EST
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Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)   (Getty Images)
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) (Getty Images)

(CNS – When asked if it is possible for the U.S. to engage in free trade with a communist country such as China, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said, “No, I don’t think we can.” 

At the Capitol on Thursday, asked Sen. Tillis,  “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, “No, I don’t think we can because free trade also assumes some sort of level playing field. China hasn’t played on a level playing field for 40 years.” followed up with the question, “What do you think the United States should do about it?” 

“Well, I think a part of why we have, you know the -- you have to follow, short of becoming protectionist, but you have to find other ways to play a game that China’s outplaying us right now. And a lot of that has to deal with moving supply chains’ independence to other partners, more reliable jurisdictions. It’s things that we’ve been talking about, now we have do it.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

As the Census Bureau reported Monday, 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." 

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

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). 

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