Despite rising political tensions between the world’s top two economic powers, U.S. trade with China has steadily grown, setting a new record last year.
At $690.6 billion, according to official U.S. data released on Feb. 9, the level of bilateral goods trade between the countries was a demonstration of how commercially intertwined the countries are, though unfair trade practices from Beijing have for years been an eyesore for the United States.
The Texas lawmaker said he wants to change that by proposing what he dubbed the “BEAT CHINA Act.” By modifying the tax code, the lawmaker aims to give tax advantages to manufacturers moving to the United States from abroad, cutting down U.S. overdependence on China, the global manufacturing hub that in 2021 made up nearly a third of the world’s manufacturing output in 2021.
“The Chinese Communist Party is the single greatest foreign threat to U.S. national security,” Roy told The Epoch Times ahead of the legislation’s release. “As long as we depend on China and the rest of the world to keep our shelves stocked, our economic prosperity, our political liberty, and our national security are all in grave danger.”
In 2020, the supply chain disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic put the world’s economic dependence on China under the spotlight. China’s dominance in the global production of medical supplies amplified shortages in the United States and around the world, prompting many experts to call it a “national security risk.” Since then, the severe lockdowns in China under the regime’s now-abandoned zero-tolerance virus policy frequently brought production to a standstill, intensifying supply chain woes for companies that source some of their components from China, such as Microsoft and Apple.
The bill—co-sponsored by Reps. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), and Brian Babin (R-Texas), with support from advocacy groups FreedomWorks and National Taxpayers Union—comes at a precarious moment amid diplomatic fallout from the Chinese spy balloon incident that has roiled Washington and captured worldwide attention. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who initially hoped to repair relations with China with a visit to Beijing, pushed it off indefinitely over the issue.
The balloon, which the United States has now identified to be part of a sprawling global Chinese surveillance campaign, appears to have rallied lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. On Feb. 9, the House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution condemning the use of the surveillance balloon to collect U.S. intelligence and the Chinese regime’s subsequent false claims to mask its operation.
Under Roy’s proposal for reshoring U.S. manufacturing, qualifying manufacturers would be able to receive a “bonus depreciation” by treating non-residential real property purchases as a 20-year property instead of a 39-year property, making it eligible for full and immediate expensing. It would also amend tax code provisions to make full and immediate expensing permanent, and allow manufacturers to exclude from gross income any gain on the disposition of assets in the country they are moving from. The precondition is for companies to maintain at least the same production levels in the United States as the foreign country they are leaving.
“It is time to end our economic dependence on our greatest adversary and foster an American economy that can provide for itself,” Roy said.
Bringing back American manufacturing jobs is a major platform for the Biden administration. The CHIPS Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in August, allocated a $280 billion funding package toward bolstering domestic semiconductor manufacturing.