Grassley claims Biden is more effective in approach to Chinese relations than Trump


Max Goldberg/Iowa State Daily

The debate around Chinese relations is one that hits home even in Iowa as foreign ownership attempts to spin its web around America’s agriculture industry.

Katherine Kealey

After the Senate and House recently passed a bipartisan bill to bolster the United States’ investments to compete with Chinese advancements, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley said he is so far satisfied with President Joe Biden’s approach to Chinese relations.

Biden’s tactic is an all-for-one approach, with allies like Europe, South Korea, Canada and Japan working together to take on negotiating with the People’s Republic. Grassley said while he was satisfied with former President Donald Trump’s approach to China, he thinks Biden’s method will be more effective.

There is a weak link in the mix, and according to Grassley, it is Europe. Because European countries rely so heavily on China for imported goods, Grassley said they aren’t willing to take aggressive enough approaches against them. 

China contests maritime rights in the South China Sea, arguing that the country has historic rights over the sea. In 2016, an international court rejected the Chinese governments’ claims of sovereignty over 90 percent of water mass.

Grassley said there can’t be the expectation that China will lead international cooperation when they infringe on the freedom of the seas and basic human rights.

When asked if Biden has any interest in holding China accountable for the lack of transparency relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, Grassley said he felt more confident if the question were about everything relating to China except COVID-19.

Biden recently directed the intelligence agency to further investigate the origins of the COVID-19 virus with two likely scenarios in mind: human contact with infected animals or a laboratory accident. Grassley said there needs to be a stronger stand against the World Health Organization and that he has concerns about their passivity with the Chinese information about COVID-19.

“It just isn’t defensible,” Grassley said in regards to China’s handling of the outbreak.

The debate around Chinese relations is one that hits home even in Iowa as foreign ownership attempts to spin its web around America’s agriculture industry. Plants like Smithfield Foods and Syngenta began as American-owned businesses and have since sold out to now the second-largest economy in the world.

Grassley said it is unlikely in a free market economy to legislate against merging businesses, but there are efforts from the Judiciary Subcommittee to examine antitrust law, competition policy and consumer rights. The bill was introduced by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and would require the joining companies to prove no damage will come from the merger for the economy and consumers. 

The Senate introduced an estate and gift tax bill that would reduce tax exemptions. Since 2017, exemption amounts have increased from $5.49 million to $11.58 million in 2020, all while the tax rate has remained 40 percent if exceeded. 

Grassley said if the Senate follows regular order, requiring a supermajority of 60 votes, reductions to estate tax exemptions are unlikely because those who voted for the 2017 tax bill won’t support it. 

“Why would you want to change something that has worked so well for the economy? You may not feel it exactly yet, but it is booming and going to get better,” Grassley said. “The United States is going to lead a worldwide recovery from the pandemic like China did in 2008 after the financial crisis. We are going to come booming back, and maybe we are already in that process and don’t realize it.”