One Republican senator isn’t waiting for President Donald Trump to strike a trade deal with China.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has introduced a bill that would block the export of what he calls “core technologies” to China, particularly sensitive tech that supports that nation’s military. Under the proposal, U.S. firms must obtain Commerce Department approval to export items on the list from 15 categories including artificial intelligence, robotics and semiconductors.
The trade deal that the Trump administration has been attempting to negotiate with China has some measures to prevent intellectual property theft. But Hawley isn’t convinced they’ll work — even if they’re part of the final agreement.
“Every time we sort of get to this place — and we've seen this movie before — the Chinese government says, oh, trust us, we'll quit stealing,” Hawley told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move. “But then they don't. They continue doing it, and they won't allow any enforcement mechanism that would actually make these agreements enforceable against them. That's a big problem.”
Hawley asserts that if U.S. companies are blocked from exporting their tech to China and therefore stopping the manufacturing of products in China, it could spark an American manufacturing renaissance.
“Listen, I'm willing to bet on American workers,” Hawley said. “And if that means bringing back some manufacturing to the United States, if that means developing new capacities to actually make things in this country and not just rely on cheap labor from abroad that has shipped too many jobs overseas, I'm for it.”
Manufacturing jobs accounted for 8.7% of U.S. employment as of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — down from 32% in 1953.
Julie Hyman is an anchor of Yahoo Finance On the Move. Follow her on Twitter @juleshyman.