By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
United States Senator Roy Blunt believes the trade dispute with China will be resolved, but says the belief that trade would change China will likely never materialize.
Blunt says both the U.S. and China have reasons to sign a new trade agreement.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to get back to where we were with China a decade ago when there was a sense that this was going to be smooth-sailing and the Chinese economy and their view of individual freedom was developing so rapidly that, before you knew it, we’d all be functioning the same way,” Blunt says in an interview with KFEQ News. “I think we now see that’s not likely to happen. President Xi is president for life.”
Blunt insists the trade dispute has hurt the Chinese economy more than the American economy. He says China, because of its communist form of government, can better weather economic hardships than the United States.
“They can tolerate more unhappiness in their system, but nobody likes to tolerate unhappiness,” Blunt says. “So, President Xi should want to do this. President Trump should want to do this. I think we will see some things happen there, but not everything that probably we need to see happen and would eventually want to see happen.”
Blunt says the optimistic outlook many U.S. leaders had that open trade would create an open China just hasn’t happened and likely won’t happen.
One trade agreement has been reached, but is pending Congressional approval.
Blunt is optimistic Congress will approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is touted as vital to Missouri agriculture as well as business.
Blunt, a Republican, says it might seem odd, but the move by House Democrats to investigate and possibly impeach President Donald Trump could well pave the way for approval of the USMCA.
“The impeachment votes in the House make it even more likely that the Speaker’s going to decide that the 30 or 40 members that are going to have the hardest time casting that vote are the same 30 or 40 members that have the most need to have a vote on USMCA,” according to Blunt. “I think we have a real chance to get that done.”
Blunt holds out hope Congress will take up and pass the trade agreement before the end of the year.