"To me," White House adviser Steve Bannon told the American Prospect, "the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we're five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we'll never be able to recover."
"Economic war" is not a frame most Republicans use to describe our relationship with China. In 2000, the U.S. Congress voted to admit China into the World Trade Organization, thus lowering trade barriers, opening the U.S. up to Chinese imports. Americans have access to Chinese-made goods, which makes life cheaper, and Chinese people have many more jobs, creating a massive middle class in the world's second-most populous nation.
But from some perspectives, this can look like war by China on U.S. manufacturing: Chinese imports have helped destroy manufacturing jobs in the U.S., and there have been cultural aftershocks of that — probably including the election of Donald Trump. MIT economist David Autor, along with coauthors, has published a string of studies examining the impact of Chinese imports on the U.S.
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