August 06, 2011

Manchin: End Aid to China | Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG - A West Virginia senator is supporting the elimination of U.S. aid to China.

In this time of budget constraints, U.S. tax dollars shouldn't be going to China, the world's second-largest economy, Sen. Joe Manchin said. The United States has spent more than $275 million since 2001 in China to expand internet access and improving public transportation, he said.

China also receives billions from multilateral institutions like the United Nations, to which the United States is among the largest contributors, Manchin said.

"At a time of tight budgets, painful spending cuts and overwhelming concern about how we spend money in this country, it doesn't make any sense that America would send any hard-earned taxpayer dollars to China, whose economy is growing by leaps and bounds and who has consistently made it very difficult for this country to compete on a fair playing field," Manchin said. "Now is the time to focus on rebuilding America, and to ensure that we invest in American infrastructure and innovation ahead of other countries."

Manchin was among senators from both parties signing off on letters to the Department of Commerce and Sens. Daniel Inouye and Thad Cochran, Senate appropriations leaders.

"In view of China's economic rise, it is clear that, with the exception of programs targeted specifically to Tibet or promote respect for human rights and democracy in China, the annual assistance we are currently providing to China could be better utilized in countries with greater need and vastly smaller resources," the letter to Inouye and Cochran said. China currently owns $1.2 trillion of U.S. Treasury debt, and has launched its own multi-billion dollar foreign assistance program to rival the United States. This year, both the United Kingdom and Australia announced they will no longer provide direct assistance to China.

The letter to the Commerce Department, addressed to Francisco J. S'nchez, under secretary for international trade, asks the commerce department to strengthen enforcement of existing U.S. laws intended to combat illegal import practices such when nations like China sells goods for far less than they are worth in another country. The department has been lax since announcing increased enforcement a year ago, the senators said.

"The failure to implement this change in a timely manner is hurting U.S. manufacturing companies and workers in our states at a time when job retention and creation remains challenging to employers," the letter said.

By:  Editorial