CEOs advocate principled and realistic solutions to China trade issues to further prospects for long-term US economic growth

Business Roundtable, representing 160 CEOs of leading American companies, recently called attention to the critical state of the China trade debate in Washington and released a series of recommendations on how US policymakers can most effectively address the complex issues that define the US-China trade relationship. The recommendations are contained in the organization’s new white paper: “Reestablishing a Consensus on US-China Trade: A Principled and Realistic Approach for US Policymakers,” which was delivered to all Members of Congress and key Administration officials last week.

“The issues related to trade with China are representative of larger questions regarding the US’s position in the world economy and US competitiveness,” said Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies, and Chairman of Business Roundtable. “By not distinguishing between two distinct sets of issues, policymakers and opinion leaders risk prescribing blunt solutions that will not adequately address the broad economic challenges facing the US, or the particular challenges of US-China trade.”

“There is much at stake in US-China trade—both in terms of problems to be addressed, as well as benefits to be realized—and we should strive to reach internal consensus,” Mr. McGraw said. “Addressing the problems in US- China trade is critical, but we also need action to ensure US global competitiveness—we need to make our workers more competitive, eliminate the current account imbalance and help strengthen our position within the global economy.”

China is the United States’ third largest trading partner, fourth largest export market and, with the United States, a powerful engine of global economic growth. “How we manage our economic relationship with China will have profound implications for the US and world economies,” McGraw continued.

The Roundtable paper details some key problems that need to be addressed with China, including widespread infringement of intellectual property rights, an undervalued Chinese currency, and industrial and regulatory policies that often disadvantage US businesses and workers. At the same time, Business Roundtable CEOs cautioned that “trade and investment with China serves US interests in fundamental ways, and policymakers must consider these benefits in assessing the challenges and formulating responses. Without a balanced evaluation and understanding of what’s at stake, the United States risks adopting policy responses”—like the pending legislation to impose a 27.5% tax on Chinese imports - “that cause more harm than good.”

Among the Roundtable’s recommendations are the following principles for policymakers to follow as a basis for reestablishing a consensus on US-China trade:

  • Stay true to core US principles of open trade and investment;
  • Deal realistically with China’s position;
  • Hold China accountable to international trade rules;
  • Address China intellectual property rights concerns comprehensively;
  • Engage with China on regulatory reform;
  • Address the current account imbalance globally, rather than through a China lens;
  • Ensure US export controls facilitate exports to China without compromising national security;
  • Maintain US leadership in Asia;
  • Keep the focus on job creation, not preserving the status quo; and
  • Raise America’s game through an ambitious competitiveness agenda.

To view a copy of “Reestablishing a Consensus on US-China Trade: A Principled and Realistic Approach for US Policymakers,” visit (PR Newswire)