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How To Betterhandle Trade With China

December 28, 2018

Amid the expanding trade war and the billions of dollars in unnecessary costs it has imposed on American consumers, the Trump administration and four key allies have attacked one trade issue in a way that should be a model for broader action. In coordinated announcements Dec. 21, trade and justice officials in Washington and the capitals of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand specifically blamed China for a 12-year campaign of commercial espionage and provided evidence to support the claim. In Washington, the Justice Department revealed indictments against two Chinese hackers, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong. According to the indictment, they are members of a hacking squad tied to the Chinese Ministration of State Security, known as “Advanced Persistent Threat 10” or “Stone Panda.” They are accused of conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft and of stealing “hundreds of gigabytes” of confidential business data. After the announcements, justice and trade officials in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Japan, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland issued their own statements condemning the Chinese conduct. Rather than leaving the matter with the indictments, the countries victimized by China directly should penalize the Chinese companies that have benefitted from the stolen information, and use their own combined cyber abilities to thwart Chinese commercial espionage. Beyond that, the coordinated effort offers on how to better handle trade with China. One of President Donald Trump’s first acts as president was voiding U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations that would have presented China with a trading partner too big to manipulate. And the deal would have set labor and environmental standards to a degree greater than any trade deal in history, further pressuring China to improve in those areas. The other 11 members remained in that partnership following U.S. withdrawal, and they would be amenable to a return simply because of the size of the U.S. market. Given the coordinated effort on espionage, the Trump administration should seize other opportunities to present the unscrupulous Chinese regime with a united front.

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