Joshua Bolten Talks Trade, China and the Benefits of Tax Reform on "Squawk Box"

On CNBC’s "Squawk Box," Business Roundtable President & CEO Says Tariffs Counterproductive to Achieving Trade Objectives, Argues Pro-Growth Policies Like Tax Reform Make U.S. More Competitive

October 17, 2018

Bolten on the Administration’s Objectives and Tactics in Trade Confrontation with China

“Companies are united in wanting to see some important reforms in the Chinese market. They need to open up to investment. They need to reduce their barriers to entry into the Chinese market. They need to make sure that once you get into the Chinese market, that it’s possible to compete on a level playing field, that regulation isn’t going to be tilted against the foreigner and so on. There’s a lot of work to be done in China and almost every multinational business experiences some problem. We’ve been very supportive of a lot of the Administration’s objectives in the trade confrontation they’re having with China. We’ve objected to, however, a lot of the tactics because we think that the imposition of a heavy dose of tariffs before really sitting down to attempt a negotiation has been counterproductive.”

Bolten on What the U.S. Should Aim to Achieve in Trade Negotiations with China

“It would be a disappointment if we came away from this confrontation, which already has caused a fair amount of damage to a lot of U.S. companies, not just Chinese companies. But it would be a disappointment to come away from this confrontation with nothing more than a short term deal to buy some more LNG or something like that. There’s a lot of fundamental stuff that needs to happen and that’s much harder to negotiate than a deal just to buy temporarily buy a few more products. Because if that’s what you do, you’re just kicking the can down the road and you’re going to have the same problem two or three years from now.”

Bolten on Tax Reform

Business Roundtable has “Democrats and Republicans, but every one of them likes pro-growth economic policies, which means don’t mess with the tax cuts which … are doing a lot to make this country much more competitive.”

To see the full interview, click here.