China threatens America’s economic and national security.
Its Belt and Road Initiative, which provides development assistance to emerging nations, has given it economic leverage all over the world. To obtain access to its growing markets and modern, inexpensive manufacturing infrastructure, Western businesses must often turn over valuable intellectual property — if the Chinese government doesn’t simply steal it.
China’s economic aggression fuels its expansionism, as it seeks to extend its sphere of influence globally.
The Trump administration has pushed back hard against China’s economic bullying, especially in areas like information technology (IT) and space launch where China has been using government subsidies to expand global market share for critical platforms and services.
The president has taken actions to level the playing field, but more must be done.
After decades of concerted effort, China has become a primary source of American consumer goods, which are manufactured there or assembled from parts and shipped back to the United States. China is now our primary source for a wide variety of essential items like industrial supplies, pharmaceuticals, and cellular technology.
If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything it’s that we can’t allow so much of what America needs to come from a country that views itself as an adversary.
It's time to rethink our supply chains, and to end our reliance on China.
One step the Trump administration can take to acknowledge this new reality immediately is to ban shipments to the United States of things manufactured in China endangering American lives, national security — and economic stability.
For example, there is the chemical sodium cyanide, essential to the mining of gold and silver, and now a product the Chinese make for export.
Until now, the need for sodium cyanide in North American mining has been filled by U.S. companies. The Chinese wish to newly enter and dominate the market as competitors. In furtherance of that objective, as a successful Department of Justice investigation and conviction show, Mr. Jerry JingDon Xu likely stole key U.S. internet protocols (IP) for advanced sodium cyanide manufacturing from Chemours, a U.S. manufacturer, on behalf of China.
If that isn't enough, the Chinese manufacturers cut costs by cutting corners on safety with one of the world’s most hazardous chemicals. U.S. manufacturers adhere to the highest safety and security standards, including 10 ton metal containers, complete with loading/offloading rails for safe transport, to contain each ton of sodium cyanide.
Chinese exports are transported in plastic bags inside of wooden boxes, and the producer ceases to be liable once the boxes arrive at port.
In countries permitting bag-box cyanide transport, there have been numerous accidents and terrorist attempts to acquire sodium cyanide.
In 2015, sodium cyanide stored in plastic bags in the Chinese port city of Tianjin exploded with the force of three tons of TNT, setting off a secondary explosion that had, according to the South China Post, the force of 21 tons.
If only the threat stopped there: the flimsy packaging used by Chinese companies makes sodium cyanide a soft target for a potential terrorist who, if determined enough, could breach even a single box at any point, as it moved through the United States and turn it into a bomb or, with the application of other easily-obtainable chemicals, into a cloud of deadly hydrocyanic gas.
A single container filled with multiple bag/box packages could contain more than 44,000 pounds of sodium cyanide — more than 80 million lethal doses.
Numerous reports, including from the U.S. Department of Defense, analyze the risk.
In addition to the national security and safety issues, we face the elimination of this U.S. manufacturing capacity by Chinese underselling, rendering the U.S. dependent on Chinese exports of the chemical for gold mining in the U.S., — further undercutting a critical supply chain for electronics.
It ought to be a basic principle of U.S. law that no American firm should be forced to compete against a Chinese company trying to enter our markets using technologies and processes stolen from U.S. firms.
It ought to be another that imports made cheaper by creating significant national security and safety risks should not be permitted.
If China can get away with this kind of abuse in the niche market for mining chemicals, they will do so again and again in other places.
The executive branch has the responsibility to protect American commerce from this kind of invasion which, as we’ve seen, is an essential part of China’s long march towards becoming the world’s dominant superpower.
Horace Cooper is a legal commentator and Co-Chair of the Black Leadership Network Project 21. Previously a visiting assistant professor of law at George Mason University School of Law, his research focus was on U.S. intellectual property rights policy, the role of the United States Supreme Court in the American constitutional system, political forecasting, the legislative process, and federal labor law. Mr. Cooper has also served in senior capacities in the George W. Bush Administration including at the Voice of America and in the Department of Labor under then Secretary Elaine Chao, and on Capitol Hill as Counsel to former Majority Leader Richard K. Armey. His book "How Trump is Making Black America Great Again" will be available in July. Read Horace Cooper's Reports — More Here.
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