Wendy Cutler Interviewed by NPR on U.S. Trade Policy Options with China

Akin Gump senior policy consultant Wendy Cutler, a deputy U.S. Trade Representative under former President Barack Obama, appeared on the NPR program “Morning Edition” to discuss the Trump administration’s trade policy priorities for 2018, which include an effort to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China.

Cutler said reports that President Trump is considering raising tariffs on some electronics from China would be a mistake, though she agrees that Washington needs to take some sort of action against Beijing.

“There’s a growing frustration in the United States that China is not operating on a level playing field,” Cutler said. “While Chinese companies have access to the U.S. market, our companies don’t have fair access to China’s market.” The most pressing example she cited involves intellectual property rights and Beijing’s practice “of forcing U.S. companies to share technology as a condition for investing in China.”

The NPR report notes that Mr. Trump is also considering new tariffs on Chinese-manufactured Washington machines and solar panels, which Cutler said would lead to higher prices for U.S. consumers. If China were to retaliate, “that would affect not only U.S. companies but also workers for those companies that produce the goods.”

Cutler observed that the United States has “very legitimate concerns about wanting to address China’s unfair trade practices,” but increasing tariffs would go against Washington’s World Trade Organization obligations.

To listen to the full interview, please click here.