By Lalit K Jha
Washington, Jan 20 (PTI) Acknowledging that China is clearly America's most important strategic competitor, the incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told lawmakers that the United States needs to take on Beijing's "abusive, unfair, and illegal practices."
The relations between the US and China are at an all-time low. The two countries are currently engaged in a bitter confrontation over various issues, including trade, the origins of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the communist giant's aggressive military moves in the disputed South China Sea and human rights.
“China is clearly our most important strategic competitor. As you said, we need to work with allies. We also need to strengthen our own economy so that we can compete,” Yellen, who has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as his Treasury Secretary, told members of the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
She said that Biden will soon come forward with a package to accomplish that by investing in infrastructure, investing in people, and creating a more competitive economy in research and development.
“We need to take on China's abusive, unfair, and illegal practices. China is undercutting American companies by dumping products, erecting trade barriers, and giving illegal subsidies to corporations,” Yellen said.
“It's been stealing intellectual property and engaging in practices that give it an unfair technological advantage, including forced technology transfers. And these practices, including China's low labour and environmental standards, our practices that we're prepared to use the full array of tools to address,” she said in response to a question.
Reiterating that China is the most important strategic competitor of the United States, Yellen said that she feels it's necessary to devise an administration-wide and multifaceted approach to address the threats that China causes.
“And certainly we need to target illicit activities that are linked to theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, illegal efforts to acquire critical technologies and sensitive US data and fentanyl traffic, among other things,” she said.
Observing that the US faces a significant competition with China and need to address subsidies that China has put in place and other policies to erode our technological edge, Yellen said, “I think first and foremost we have to make sure that we as an economy make the investments that enable us to compete with China, investments in manufacturing and infrastructure and training and research and development that are ultimately our sources of economic strength.”
“We need to aggressively counter unfair practices that China uses, whether it's to enforce technology transfer or to invest in ways in the United States that are dangerous to our national security,” said the top economist. PTI LKJ RS RS