In fairness it’s not hard to be both an admirer of China and also a harsh critic. We’re in that camp.
My grandfather was actually one of the first westerners in China post-Cultural Revolution. The cuff links he was given by Chinese officials I wear to meetings often. They are inscribed with the Chinese symbol for “lucky.” I find much value in a couple of schools of thought that emerged from of China. I, like Mr. Ross, love China. But I also recognize that China is indeed The Ultimate Crony Capitalist State.
Ross, we’ll bet probably sees things in a similar way.
After consulting with contacts in Washington, Ross correctly predicted that George W. Bush would levy a temporary tariff on steel, which lasted from 2002 to 2003, long enough for the American mills purchased by Ross’s International Steel Group to make themselves competitive with Chinese importers.
From there, Ross concluded that capitalizing on China’s system could be just as good as competing with it. He organized International Textile Group, an apparel manufacturer, to exploit China’s entry into the WTO, opening a joint venture there in 2005.
Gary Hufbauer, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the move was one of many that have made it hard to find a consistent pattern on trade among Trump’s economic team. “It’s just the tip of the iceberg of contradictions between the campaign rhetoric of candidate Trump and the actions of his key advisers like Wilbur Ross and his own investments abroad,” he said. “We’re talking about 180-degree opposition.”