BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, yesterday, I filed a report on a trip which I made to China, Vietnam, and Taiwan, but I did not have an opportunity to come to the Senate floor to discuss it. I do so today on a number of the highlights of the trip.
In Beijing, we met with the head of the banking department, who is identified in the filed report, to talk about a number of subjects, the centerpiece of which was currency manipulation. We reviewed the tremendous trade imbalance between the United States and China, much of which is occasioned by manipulating their currency.
Legislation has been introduced and is pending in the Congress, which I have cosponsored, but it has not gone anyplace. There has been comment made by the Secretary of the Treasury and the President himself about currency manipulation, but it has not done very much to correct a very bad situation. The Chinese have suggested officially that they would be willing to make some modifications, but what they have done so far has been very little.
In the conversation with the head Chinese banking official, he didn't give any ground, really. I also discussed with him the issues of subsidies and dumping, which have been rampant, taking away thousands of jobs in the United States. That was the subject of more extended discussion with the No. 2 Chinese official in their equivalent of our Department of Commerce, identified in the written report which I filed yesterday. We have seen some of our successful actions before the International Trade Commission.
For example, last year we had a matter involving tires where the International Trade Commission found in favor of the petitioners and imposed duties. We were successful in a case involving tubular pipe. Earlier this week, I was the lead witness--as I had been on the tubular case and on the tire case--on seamless steel before the International Trade Commission.
What we have seen with the Chinese practices on subsidies and dumping is a flagrant violation of international trade law. Before the International Trade Commission and I believe on the floor of the Senate, I have characterized it as international banditry. That is clearly tough talk, but I think it is accurate when there are repeated violations of international law.
When I discussed these issues with the No. 2 Chinese official in the Department of Commerce, again there was very little give--talking points, sticking with them. When I talked about subsidies, he brought up our practices on farm subsidies. I pointed out the total differences which were involved in those matters.
From China, we traveled to Hanoi and there met with a number of officials. There was a very interesting meeting with a historian who was identified in the report filed yesterday. It was fascinating to talk to somebody on the perspective of what the history of Vietnam is. He pointed out that in a few weeks, Hanoi will celebrate its 1,000th anniversary as a city. We pride ourselves on the settlement in Philadelphia--especially Philadelphia but Boston and other American cities. In tenure, it pales into insignificance when you talk about a city which has been in existence for 1,000 years.
When I talked to him about Chinese trade practices, he said: Well, they are very difficult. I talked to him about what China is doing in the China Sea, which has been a subject of international notoriety when our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, made comments that those were matters of importance to the United States. What China is doing there is going into the island areas where you have islands long held by Taiwan or by the Philippines or by Vietnam and others, rich in minerals, and asserting control and really acting like the bully they are in that issue, as well as on trade matters.
I was fascinated to hear the historian recount 13 invasions by China against Vietnam. Although it is not exactly the same, I wondered and speculated about U.S. action in Vietnam, going into Vietnam to protect Vietnam from the incursion of the Chinese Communists. Vietnam seems to have done very well for itself for centuries. In a context where China has tried to invade them, they have been able to protect themselves.
From Vietnam, we traveled to Taiwan and there met with the President of Taiwan and had a very extensive discussion about their economy and their trade practices. I was interested to note that the People's Republic of China, the mainland, and the Republic of China, Taiwan, have signed a trade agreement. They do it through corporations, but they are obviously backed by the state. It appears to me that is almost tantamount to tacit recognition, when mainland China negotiates with Taiwan in that context. When I discussed it with the officials, they all said: No, no, it is not tacit recognition; the People's Republic of China still maintains that there is one China. But some 20 countries have recognized Taiwan as an independent government, and they are moving ahead and have some 15 treaties between the 2 countries. They are working it through on what appears to be a fairly extensive normalization of relations.
Although the President of Taiwan was very interested in having the arms sold by the United States, I pressed him on whether it was realistic, really a measure that they could defend themselves, or whether it was symbolic. I did that in the discussions with other officials in Taiwan.
It appears to me that we might consider revising our policy on the sale of arms to Taiwan where we have an irritant to mainland China that doesn't really accomplish very much. We recently have sold Taiwan some $4.6 billion worth, which is very substantial, but if the People's Republic of China, mainland China, decided to invade Taiwan, the defenses they have and their request for additional fighter planes, which has not been granted--all of that would not be sufficient to stem the tide.
While in Taipei, Taiwan, we visited the 101 building, 101 stories. It was completed a few years ago, and at that time, it was the tallest building in the world. It has since been supplanted. It was quite an experience to be 101 stories above the ground, visiting the towers. As is known, when a building is that tall, it sways. But they have three enormous balls--I do not have the precise measurement but perhaps 50 feet in diameter. One of the balls is at the apex of the building, right at the top, with huge springs, so that when the building sways, the ball and the springs keep it in an upright position. I have been in some tall buildings in the United States and felt the sway, but this is remarkable. We were told there are three enormous balls in the building.
I wish to supplement the written statement filed yesterday with a supplement, an addendum to the written statement. I ask unanimous consent that it be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD,
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT