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Gordon Chang: Trump Has Authority to Block State Pension Funds from Investing in China

Chang called for President Donald Trump to use authority via the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) of 1977 to block states from adding Chinese equities to their retirement fund portfolios for government employees.

Trump issued an executive order on May 11 directing the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) to stop further investment of federal employees’ retirement monies in Chinese firms. Chang urged Trump to extend the order to state-run retirement funds.

Chang said, “Just wait until President Trump wakes up one morning and says, ‘Well, how about all this state pension money that’s going into China? Why don’t I stop that? By the way, I can do this. The 1977 act gives me the power to cut off this flow of money. Let me see what I can do by noon today.'”

“This is a world of hurt for China because we have yet to begin to fight,” Chang added.

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American pension funds investing in China help underwrite the one-party state’s geopolitical ambitions, noted Chang.

Chang reiterated an earlier call he made for Trump to use the Trading With The Enemy Act with the IEEPA to block U.S.-based multinational corporations from doing business with China.

“The president has enormous power under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act,” said Chang. “While we would prefer not to do something coercive, we’ve got to realize that this is indeed an existential struggle, and for the good of these companies, they need to get out of China.”

Chang remarked, “President Trump is not putting up with a lot of crap that his predecessors did with regard to China. This is going to be a time when China hits the wall. I’m not saying China won’t be able to survive this, but I’m saying it’s going to be a very different environment. [China is] no longer going to get the free ride that presidents like Clinton, Bush, and Obama gave China. This is the Trump era.

A majority of Americans support Trump’s recalibration of the U.S.-China relationship, estimated Chang.

“There’s a lot of American people, there are more of us than there are of the Wall Street types,” remarked Chang. “When it comes down to everything, it’s the number of votes. We’ve got so many more votes in the heartland [and] in the suburbs in New Jersey than Wall Street does. They’ve got money. We’ve got votes.”

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