Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy will lay out his trade platform Thursday, touting it as a declaration of economic independence from China, according to a draft of his remarks shared exclusively with The Post.
Ramaswamy, 38, plans to lay out a four-point plan to counter the Chinese Communist Party through “a pro-trade approach to sensibly decoupling from China” that he says will balance economic concerns with national security concerns.
Several Republican primary opponents have signaled openness to combatting China’s aggression through tariffs — including, most prominently, former President Donald Trump — but many have signaled aversion to disrupting ongoing trade relations with Beijing.
The biotech entrepreneur says his trade-focused approach is the only “serious” attempt among GOP candidates and will “modernize the Reagan Doctrine” by shifting its emphasis from “peace through strength” to “prosperity through peace.”
The longshot candidate’s platform looks to build on a buzzy sound bite from the first Republican primary debate last month, when he declared, “The climate change agenda is a hoax.”
According to Ramaswamy, the issue “has nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with letting China catch up to the US” economically, as Beijing’s greenhouse gas emissions have remained far higher than other developed nations.
“To declare independence from China abroad, we must first declare independence from the climate change agenda at home,” he plans to say.
That would entail rolling back subsidies enacted by the Biden administration for electric vehicles and solar panels, which even members of the president’s own party like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) have criticized as a handout to China.
The “electric vehicle agenda worsens dependence on China for rare earth minerals and mineral refining capacity,” Ramaswamy will argue. “When US taxpayers subsidize EVs, American taxpayers subsidize the CCP.”
Ramaswamy’s plan also involves turning to countries such as India, Brazil and Chile for rare earth mineral imports, many of which contain reserves of lithium needed for semiconductors, an essential component of many electronic products.
The second plank takes aim at last year’s passage of the CHIPS Act, which he calls “a boondoggle” for having pushed renewable energy initiatives while ignoring steps to secure semiconductor supply chains.
To prevent China’s economic dominion over semiconductor manufacturing, he will suggest “open trade relationships with South Korea, Japan, and other nations that provide market access for their own semiconductors to the US market to compete with domestically supported US semiconductor manufacturers.”
Ramaswamy also committed in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan to the US military defending the island, where the majority of semiconductor production takes place.
“I’m the only presidential candidate that has been crystal clear that we will defend Taiwan, at least until we have achieved semiconductor independence, at which point we resume the current US posture of strategic ambiguity,” Ramaswamy told The Post in an interview.
Asked whether that defense would involve US troop deployments, he said: “We will defend Taiwan to ensure that China does not successfully consummate its invasion.”
His third plank would end the US military’s reliance on China for strategic materials and limit foreign entanglements, including the war in Ukraine, which he said has “exacerbated shortages in our military stockpiles.”
Ramaswamy’s opposition to US security assistance for Kyiv has put him at odds with other Republican candidates, almost all of whom have expressed blunt disapproval of his view.
Finally, Ramaswamy will pledge to cut off the “Chinese-driven pharmaceutical supply chain” to the US and instead promote “domestic onshoring and stronger trade relationships with Israel, India, and other countries.”
“It is not unthinkable that the very nation that unleashed hell on the world with a man-made lab virus, and which now supplies the precursors to synthetic fentanyl to Mexican drug cartels who use it to lace other pharmaceuticals with fentanyl, would in a conflict scenario use poisoning of the legal pharmaceutical supply chain to unleash further hell on the US,” he will say, referring to the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid-driven deaths in recent years.
“I don’t think we should be funding Chinese research institutions,” Ramaswamy also told The Post when asked about US funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which carried out risky gain-of-function experiments with bat coronaviruses and is considered to be the potential origin of the pandemic.