Ahead of G-20 Summit, Brown Joins Senate Democrats in Urging President Trump to Not Back Down on Further Action Against China for Sake of Weak and Meaningless Agreement

In New Letter to President Trump, Senators Brown, Wyden, and Schumer Urge President Trump to Continue Applying Pressure on China Recent News Reports Indicate that China has Not Offered to Make Any Meaningful Trade Concessions and has Continued Their Predatory and Abusive Trade Practices of Stealing Intellectual Property, Flooding American Markets with Cheap Goods, and Barring U.S. Companies from Competing Freely In Chinese Markets

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today joined Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in releasing a new letter urging President Trump to stay aggressive in his approach should China fail to make meaningful concessions at the G-20 summit this week. The letter comes following recent news reports that despite the United States’ efforts to raise tariffs and challenge China on the international stage, China has not offered to make any structural reforms to their trade practices regarding the use of government subsidies to boost its emerging industries, technology transfers, and espionage that result in the theft and extortion of U.S. intellectual property, flooding the American market with cheap dumped goods, and allowing United States companies to compete freely in their market.

Furthermore, a report released this month from U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer highlights that China has continued its predatory trade practices, which include the Chinese government’s efforts to steal and extort U.S. intellectual property and rising incidences of Chinese state-sponsored cyber-attacks despite diplomatic agreements to cease such attacks. In light of China’s behavior, the senators stress the importance of continuing to apply pressure on China and not relenting in order to reach an agreement at the G-20. The Senators noted that should China fail to make meaningful concessions, a G-20 agreement will give way to long-term consequences for American jobs, innovation, and long-term economic prosperity.

The Senators’ letter to President Trump can be found below:

November 28th, 2018

President Donald Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

For years, we have called for a tougher approach with China on trade.  We know that you share our frustration that past U.S.-China dialogues and trade enforcement efforts have failed to achieve meaningful results and we appreciate that you have initiated much more aggressive action than past administrations.  However, we have seen disturbing reports that you may be considering backing down on further action against China in order to reach an agreement at the G-20.  We urge you to stand firm against China if meaningful concessions are not made. American jobs, American innovation, and long-term American economic prosperity are at stake.   

News reports indicate that in recent trade negotiations China has not offered to make structural reforms that are necessary for the U.S. to alter our current trade enforcement efforts. China has not made concessions on its use of massive government subsidies to boost its emerging industries. They do not allow U.S. companies to freely compete in their markets. They dump cheap, and too often dangerously shoddy, goods into our markets.  They continue the abusive practice of technology transfers and trade espionage that threaten our intellectual property and know-how.

As highlighted in a report this month from U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer, China has not fundamentally altered its predatory trade practices that were the impetus for the initial 301 tariffs. Notably, the report highlights that China’s government continues its efforts to steal and extort U.S. intellectual property. The report finds rising incidences of Chinese state-sponsored cyber-attacks in spite of years of diplomatic agreements to stop such attacks. In light of this activity, it is important that the U.S. not make any deal that fails to meaningfully address this predatory behavior.

U.S. industries are poised to produce good-paying jobs by selling to consumers around the world, but they will increasingly rely on the protection of their intellectual property abroad and a level global playing field to compete. China’s predatory practices are the biggest threat to these industries and American jobs. As China’s economy continues to grow, these problems will only become more difficult to address.

Again, while we hope that talks with China will achieve meaningful results for U.S. workers, we urge you to not back down for the sake of a weak and meaningless agreement should China fail to make real concessions.


Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Finance

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs