It's time for American businesses to cut ties with China

March 30, 2022

Fox Business
Op-Ed: Sen. Rick Scott
March 30, 2022

Earlier this month, I wrote an open letter to American business leaders with a simple message: it’s time to cut ties with and decouple our supply chains from Communist China to realign U.S. business with American values.

Business groups in Washington, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will push back on this idea. These groups continue to cozy up to Communist China and have made clear that they are more concerned with short-term profits than the future stability and prosperity of the American economy and American workers. That flawed and outdated way of thinking leaves Americans susceptible to Communist China’s espionage and the U.S. vulnerable to its continued lying and stealing of our intellectual property.

Since Vladimir Putin launched his war against Ukraine, American business leaders have taken action to isolate and cripple the Russian economy. They’ve made Putin’s invasion as painful as possible for him and his thug oligarch cronies. These companies should be applauded. They made the difficult but right choice to stop all operations in Russia, and Communist China may force that choice on them again. 

As I outlined in my letter, Communist China’s invasion of Taiwan has become a question of "when," not "if." This is not speculation. Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, spoke before the country’s legislative body earlier this month and made clear he believes that Communist China will launch a full-scale attack on the island. That’s why I introduced multiple pieces of legislation to both protect Taiwan and levy severe sanctions on Communist China should it invade the island.

It is not unreasonable to believe that Communist China’s forces will follow the same playbook as Putin and commit horrific war crimes, murder civilians and use merciless power to take control of Taiwan. When Communist China invades Taiwan, the consequences it suffers must be equal to, or even greater than, those imposed on Russia. The American people, and the world, will demand that Communist China be held accountable.

We need a strategic economic decoupling from Communist China – that includes ending investment and partnerships with companies controlled by the CCP. This is something I have been calling for over a year. While decoupling must begin now, we know it’s not a process that will be completed overnight. Supply chains must readjust and be removed from the grasp of the Chinese Communist Party. This will be even more important if Communist China begins aiding Russia.

We need a strategic economic decoupling from Communist China – that includes ending investment and partnerships with companies controlled by the CCP.

Critics will say this is premature. Or more likely, they will say this is unrealistic. They’re wrong. Under General Secretary Xi’s rule, the Chinese Communist Party has led a horrific campaign to abuse, harass and destroy the Uyghur population. It’s genocide. The Chinese Communist Party is forcibly sterilizing women and separating children from their families in an attempt to erase the Uyghur culture. When Uyghurs are not being tortured and brainwashed in concentration camps, they are forced into slave labor.

Thugs from the Chinese Communist Party continue to unjustly persecute Tibetans in an effort to erase their identity. Communist China’s ruthless takeover of Hong Kong has been defined by its violent crackdowns on pro-democracy activists and the destruction of a once vibrant and prosperous democracy.

No respectable organization in the United States should be doing business with a murderous regime. If American businesses fail to separate from Communist China now, they risk losing all control in the days following an invasion. Communist China could easily threaten to sever supply chains and hold resources and even personnel hostage if the United States takes action to support Taiwan. That would cripple our ability to respond without causing massive pain to the American public and throwing our nation into economic uncertainty.

We have a moral, economic AND geopolitical imperative to decouple from Communist China and start now.

It is time to place human rights, democracy and America’s national and economic security above short-term profits. It is time to bring American business back home, create more American jobs and end our dependence on Communist China.

Republican Rick Scott represents Florida in the United States Senate. He is the former Governor of Florida.