Donald Trump understands China influence. He's been talking about it since 1980. He understands it. The people that are on the other side of this, including his opponent, Hillary Clinton, have been part of every bad trade negotiation we've had since 1993.
The really big problem with China is that there are the unfair trade practices, like currency manipulation, illegal export subsidies and the theft of intellectual property, but then there's also things that the WTO doesn't cover that it should, which is the use of sweat shops and pollution havens.
If you've been to China, you know there are over 100 cities in China, and the pollution levels are just horrific - 60,000 people a year die in Chinese factories and facilities, because they don't have any safety regulations. It's a carnage; it's Dickensian.
The policy goal is to persuade China to stop cheating. But here's what's interesting - Donald Trump intuitively understands what things should be. I did a study in 2008 where I estimated the impact of China's unfair trade practices on their competitive advantage - the so-called China Price. You know what it came out to be? Forty-three percent. Forty-three percent - very close to what his intuition said we needed in order to equalize things.
When China got into the WTO, that allowed it to sell into any other country within the WTO - not just the United States - at the lowest tariffs that country offered. And the other countries could sell into China at the lowest tariffs that China offered. The problem, right off the bat, was that China had much higher tariffs than everywhere else, so the U.S. and Europe in particular got the short end of that stick.
We're going right down the toilet, and it's a made-in-China toilet. I teach MBAs. And I noticed, starting a few years after China joined the World Trade Organization, that a lot of my students were no longer employed. They were still coming to get their MBA, but they'd lost their jobs.
China are running trade deficits with the rest of the world. If you look at the U.S. trade deficit, it's close to $800 billion trade in goods. Half of that is with China, so it's a big part of the problem. And the problem with China, as opposed to, say, Canada, is that China cheats.
From 1947 to 2001, the American economy grew annually at a rate of 3.5 percent. After China got into the World Trade Organization, got access to our markets and flooded our markets with its illegally subsidized exports, we grew at a rate of 1.8 percent from 2002 to 2015. That's almost cut in half.
In my movie, "Death By China," it shows Bill Clinton in 2000 promising that when China got into the World Trade Organization we would be making products here and selling them there, and life would be great. Just the opposite has happened. And here's why this has been so devastating - China went into the World Trade Organization and agreed to play by certain rules. Instead, it's violated these rules. For 15 years, it continues to illegally subsidize its exports.
The defining moment in American economic history is when Bill Clinton lobbied to get China into the World Trade Organization. It was the worst political and economic mistake in American history in the last 100 years. China went into the World Trade Organization and agreed to play by certain rules. Instead, they are illegally subsidizing their exports, manipulating their currency, stealing all of our intellectual property, using sweatshops, using pollution havens. What happens is, our businesses and workers are playing that game with two hands tied behind their back.