House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes on Sunday said the committee is investigating “many aspects” of China, due to its growing worldwide military presence and potential threats to global trade.
“We believe that they are looking at investing in ports and infrastructure around the globe, not just for military capabilities but also to control those governments, to have the ability to lobby and manipulate governments,” Nunes, R-Calif., told Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum last Thursday, calling it the “first of many,” which would impose tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports to penalize the country for what the administration calls “unfair” trade practices, and its alleged theft of American intellectual property.
“Either it’s through the internet or it’s through investing in educational systems here or think tanks,” Nunes said. “They’re bringing people here. I believe that they are stealing Silicon Valley blind and in just a few years, the American people are gonna possibly be looking to China for new coding and new programs because of everything that the Chinese are stealing from here in America.”
However, the California Republican said he wasn’t sure if recently-imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum would be the best way to take on China, though he suggested the U.S. strike trade deals with other Asian countries.
“Japan, possibly Vietnam, the Philippines, other places in Asia so that if China does want to get into a trade war that we can actually begin to open up more trade with their neighbors, where they’ll take some of our products that we grow here in America,” Nunes said.
In response to Trump’s actions, China announced retaliatory tariffs last Friday against $3 billion in American products, including steel, aluminum, pork and fruit. As a result, global stocks tumbled, including U.S. markets, where the S&P 500 saw its worst week in more than two years.
The S&P 500 fell 55.43 points, or 2.1%, to 2,588.26. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 424.69 points, or 1.77%, to 23,533.20. The Nasdaq Composite closed 174.01 points, or 2.43%, lower at 6,992.67.
“I do think it was an overreaction based on incomplete information,” White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro told Bartiromo on Sunday.
Navarro, a trade hawk known for designing the president’s “America First” economic strategy, told Bartiromo last week that he didn’t expect China to “jeopardize” its trade relationship with the U.S. by reacting with tariffs of its own. However, Navarro on Sunday said the retaliation from China is “muted.”
“At the end of the day, China’s a sovereign nation. It has to make a choice about how it wants to proceed in the global economy,” he said.