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America's best jobs program? Trade reform with China.

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Stephan Savoia/AP/File

(Read caption) In this July file photo, a container ship from China is offloaded at Massport's Conley Terminal in the port of Boston. Since China joined the World Trade Organization, many US manufacturers have closed US factories and set up shop in China to reexport their goods here.

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The best jobs program is trade reform with China – not more government stimulus. The presidential candidate who best conveys this singular, ineluctable truth to the American people between now and election day will carry the manufacturing swing states of Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin and thereby win the election.

The case for China trade reform as both a winning political and economic strategy is firmly rooted in the history of U.S.-China trade relations and its destructive consequences. In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization with strong bipartisan support, and in lobbying for China’s entry into the WTO, President Bill Clinton promised “for the first time, China will agree to play by the same open trading rules we do” and “for the first time our companies will be able to sell and distribute products in China.”

Instead, since 2001, China has flagrantly violated WTO rules by flooding our markets with illegally subsidized exports. Meanwhile, putatively “American” multinationals like Boeing, Caterpillar, and GM have shut down plants in cities like Seattle, Peoria, and Detroit while opening massive operations in places like Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai – all to leverage China’s illegal subsidies and ultra-lax environmental and worker rules and then dump their products back into American markets.

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