“The U.S. needs to stop thinking of China as a source of cheap goods and realize that China in fact is a threat to our economy and to our values,” according to Clyde Prestowitz, a noted expert on Asia. Prestowitz spoke at the West Springfield Rotary Club’s virtual meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 6 on U.S. – China relations and the myths that have governed U.S. policy.
In 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization, U.S. leaders viewed this as an enormous step forward. They believed that free trade and access to the U.S. and other countries’ markets under Most Favored Nation trade conditions would lead China to become democratic and that China would play by the international rules. In short, a win-win situation.
Instead, Prestowitz argues, the Chinese Communist Party has become more autocratic and today is expanding its influence throughout the world. Additionally, through such practices as technology theft and subsidization of its industries, China has taken advantage of the U.S. open market. The result has been a trade deficit of almost $400 billion in 2018 and a loss of 5 million American jobs.
The biggest immediate threat today is China’s ambition to bring democratic Taiwan under its control. This is a threat to nearby Japan, the Philippines and Australia and to the U.S. Prestowitz has written seven books on Asia and globalization. His eighth book, “The World Turned upside Down: America, China and the struggle for global leadership,” will be available Jan. 26.