Duncan Hunter: Enforce borders. Level the playing field for trade.
The issues and challenges facing America today require experienced leadership and clear vision. The next American president will assume difficult responsibilities immediately upon taking office, and the challenges facing our nation demand innovative solutions and a commitment to strengthening America's traditional values and ideals.
To be successful, our nation must maintain its commitment to expanding freedom and protecting free institutions around the world. We must also stay focused on promoting the safety and security of the American people, which includes securing our borders and enforcing our nation's laws. And it is important that the American people, with their enormous creativity and tireless work ethic, be given a chance to compete in the global marketplace.
Today's American workers are losing to foreign competition, primarily because of the unfair advantages that have been afforded to our trading partners. An uneven playing field has been created, and our nation's manufacturing base, once referred to as the Arsenal of Democracy, continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate.
The same Arsenal of Democracy that carried Eisenhower's forces to Berlin and brought an end to the Cold War can now be found far from America's shores. The massive production of textiles, steel and machine tools are no longer found in the factories of South Carolina, Ohio and Iowa. This great arsenal can now be found in other industrial countries around the world and, perhaps most ominously, China.
China is cheating on trade, and, in the process, it is buying ships, planes and missiles with American trade dollars, demonstrating that this is not merely a trade issue, but also a security issue. And how is China cheating?
When we enter into a trade deal with China, its manufacturers are given a 17 percent subsidy for exporting their products to the United States. When American products arrive on China's shores, they are immediately levied with a 17 percent tax. Then China devalues its currency by 40 percent.
In order to remain competitive, we must eliminate this disparity and level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers. My administration will stand up to China and other nations by placing countervailing duties against their products when they break the rules. Further, my administration will engage in what I call "mirror trade." A nation that places a 20 percent tariff against U.S. goods will see a reflection of their tariffs when its products reach our shores.
I also believe we must secure our borders and aggressively enforce our nation's immigration laws. As a representative of a border community for more than 26 years, I can offer more than lip service when it comes to addressing the issues associated with illegal immigration and the necessity for border security.
Most notably, I built the San Diego Border Fence - which has reduced the smuggling of people and narcotics by more than 90 percent in our sector - and I wrote the provision of the Secure Fence Act that extends this infrastructure 854 miles across the smuggling routes of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. From our experience in San Diego, we know that fencing works.
As president, I will therefore complete the 854 miles of security fencing presently required by law in six months. The enforcement of existing immigration laws will also be one of my top priorities.
It is equally critical that we enact policies that protect human life and the rights of the unborn. And when we appoint judges, we are handing great power, including the power of life and death, to individual people. Judges must demonstrate discernment and an understanding that the unborn are worthy of protection, or they should not receive an appointment to the bench.
America's continued success demands that we take the steps necessary to strengthen our nation's security, restore our nation's industrial base and protect individual rights, including those of the unborn. This vision, which I will pursue as president, will ensure our nation remains strong and prosperous for future generations of Americans.
U.S. Rep. DUNCAN HUNTER of California is seeking the Republican nomination for president.