Epoch Times: Amid Failed Promises of Reform, US Companies Leave China

January 09, 2015


Failed dreams and broken promises are all that remain of the hope that led the United States to open free trade with China in 2001.

[Reposted from the Epoch Times  |  Joshua Phillips  |  January 1, 2015]

President Bill Clinton had told a crowded room a year prior that “if you believe in a future of greater openness and freedom for the people of China, you ought to be for this agreement.” The decision had bipartisan support, and leaders in the United States shared the belief that with the fall of the Soviet Union trade with China would help it move to democracy and freedom.

Rather than China becoming more free and democratic, many U.S. and Western companies have instead bowed to China’s interests, and many others have faced severe economic harm.

Open trade “didn’t make them more democratic,” said Peter Navarro, director of the film, “Death by China.” Instead, “it made them a more efficient authoritarian machine.”

But now, a change may be happening. Many large companies have begun to feel the impact, and many are now pulling out from China. Best Buy announced on Dec. 4 that it would sell its 184 stores in China and leave the country. It now joins other companies that left China, including Google, Home Depot, Metro, Media Market, Adidas, Panasonic, Rakuten, Nestle, and Danone.

The timing is relevant. The Chinese regime will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its ascension to the World Trade Organization in 2016, and lawmakers in America are now looking at the harm open trade with China has brought to the global economy.

Trade War

“They came in and wreaked havoc on the American economy and the European economy,” Navarro said.

The problem, Navarro said, is that the WTO and the “most-favored-nation” status are meant to bring along a system or rules for free trade. When China was granted these benefits, however, it has used the rules and standards to boost its own trade, yet has not been following the rules when dealing with other nations.

“They reap all the benefits of international organization, but they don’t abide by the rules,” Navarro said.

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