In a perfect world, every good or service produced anywhere on the planet could be sold anywhere else on the planet free of charge, and free of any government obstacles.

Countries wouldn’t put barriers up that prevent free trade. They wouldn’t manipulate the value of their money. They wouldn’t steal intellectual property. They wouldn’t use slave labor. They wouldn’t sell products at a loss and flood the market with them in order to destroy competition and create monopolies. They wouldn’t heavily subsidize things creating unfair advantages in the world market.

I am a big fan of the Austrian School of Economic theory promoted by the Mises Institute. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world. We have to deal with the world we do live in.

For many decades now, over several different presidential administrations and many different congresses, the United States has not been doing a good job of dealing with trade in the real world. This incompetence has cost our country dearly.

The Chinese have been on a virtual crime spree over the last couple of decades. Thankfully, we now have a president willing to address this situation. Confronting China’s unfair and illegal trade practices that threaten our economy is long overdue. The outright theft or forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property have cost our country at least $50 billion annually.

Sophisticated electronics and other high-tech gadgets that used to be made only in the United States are now made in China instead.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, more than 3.4 million U.S. jobs have been lost because of their unfair trade practices. Main street mom and pop businesses in the United States have been devastated.

It’s important to understand that all Chinese companies are connected to the Chinese government, or owned outright by it. China has politicized its entire economy to serve the objectives of a totalitarian regime; the Chinese Communist Party.

We are not dealing with a “trading partner.” We are dealing with a determined advisory bent on the destruction of our country as we know it.

I know there is a lot of very justified concern about the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China. I know how sensitive commodity markets are, and how some small piece of news about a proposed tariff can cause wild swings in prices.

I worry about this too and follow it closely, but our country has been ripped off. Our manufacturing jobs, our sensitive technology innovations and our small family businesses have been gutted because many of our elected officials in Washington have been asleep at the wheel.

The United States is fighting back for a change and we are headed in the right direction on trade. There is a new trade agreement with Japan. A new trade deal with the United Kingdom and the European Union is being discussed and negotiated. The United States/Canada/Mexico trade deal is waiting for congressional approval. It’s not going to be easy to turn this mess around, but it must be addressed. I’m glad we finally have a president who is willing to try to fix it.

Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at tbrewer@leg.ne.gov, mail a letter to Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1423, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509, or call us at (402) 471-2628.