Leading senatorial sinophobes Charles Schumer and Lindsey
Graham arrived in Beijing today to push their agenda for a revaluation of the
yuan. Their proposed legislation to introduce prohibitive tariffs on all
Chinese imports will come to a vote in the Senate on March 31. These men really
have a funny way of looking at what is decidedly an enormous problem: China’s
US$200 billion trade deficit with America. In their minds,
America’s trade deficit is due only to the undervaluation of the yuan, and as
such, China’s monetary policy is a violation of WTO rules. The senators’ response,
therefore is… to violate WTO rules.
Their bill would place a 27.5% tariff on every
single product imported from China. They apparently have no idea the amount of damage
this would do to American consumers, who are the principal fuelers of the
deficit with their maxed-out credit cards (full disclosure: I am an American
with several maxed-out credit cards), not to mention American businesses, many
of which produce goods in China for sale in America.
Luckily, the legislation has little chance of being passed
in the House, even if it does make it through the Senate, and President Bush
has signaled his opposition as well. And with China’s history of resisting missionaries
and the messages they bring, I expect this pair of proselytizers will meet
with even stronger opposition this week.