Vice President Mike Pence took an aggressive stance on trade with China in an interview late last week at CNBC and Institutional Investor’s Delivering Alpha Conference in New York City, saying the U.S. will no longer back down from Beijing.
“The era of economic surrender is over,” Pence told CNBC’s Joe Kernen, adding that the U.S. runs “$500 billion trade deficits” with China, which also engages in forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft.
The United States’ trade deficit with China was minus-$419.2 billion for the year in 2018, an 11.7% increase over the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
China has denied stealing intellectual property (IP), but the Department of Justice said this week that more and more cases of IP and tech theft have occurred recently — even as the U.S. works to curb Beijing’s unfair practices.
“More cases are being opened that implicate trade secret theft,” U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Adam Hickey told CNBC over the weekend.
“For too long, one administration after another — Republican and Democrat administrations — were willing to accept extraordinary disadvantages to American workers and American jobs in the name of trade with China,” Pence said. “Those days are over … we’re going to continue to stand strong. The American people can be confident President (Donald) Trump is going to continue to stand strong.”
Pence’s comments came after negotiations between the world’s two largest economies resumed face-to-face negotiations last week, though, the talks were cut short by China.
More talks are scheduled for October but the two sides have been at a virtual stalemate since the trade war began more than a year ago.
Pence again credited Trump with standing firm in negotiating a better deal, which the president said he doesn’t have to have in place before the next election.
“I mean, what the president is doing with China is defending the American economy, defending America’s interests. And the strong stand that he’s taken we believe is having an impact on China’s economy,” said Pence.