June 04, 2018

Van Hollen Discusses Trade, ZTE with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer

This afternoon, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to discuss trade and the Chinese Telecommunications company ZTE. Senator Van Hollen continues to press the Administration on this national security issue in the aftermath of trade talks with China falling apart. The Senator’s amendment to prohibit the President from modifying penalties on sanctioned Chinese telecommunication companies like ZTE – which passed in the Banking Committee with broad bipartisan support — is also included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which is expected to be taken up by the Senate shortly.

Video of the exchange is available here and a transcript is available below.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Let's get to some substantive policy issues that could have an impact on the elections. Countries like Canada, a close U.S. ally, maybe the closest U.S. ally, Mexico, the European Union – they promised retaliatory trade moves in response to steep new tariffs announced by the Trump Administration. Can the Senate step in? Will Senate Republicans join Senate Democrats to do anything about this? What's your perspective?
SENATOR CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-Md.): So, Wolf, there's big bipartisan concern in the Senate about these moves. And let's distinguish between China on the one hand and Canada, Mexico, and our European allies on the other. There's no doubt that China has been trying to steal our technology secrets. And if you want to do business in China, they essentially hold up an American company and say you have to do a joint venture with us so they can get access to that technology, and we need to clamp down on that. But penalizing our European allies is a big mistake, and it’s also going to boomerang on the American consumer. Let's remember what we're talking about, raising tariffs is raising taxes on American consumers. I can tell you in my state of Maryland, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is very nervous at what's happening. Farmers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland – like around the country – are very nervous about having their markets closed down, and the reality is for American consumers, they're going to be paying more on items that they're purchasing here in the United States. So it's a hidden tax increase – I think it’s going to come back to bite us. And finally, Wolf, the President should not be trading off national security issues for some of these trade issues, as he has been with respect to the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE.