Barr Says U.S. Businesses ‘Part of Problem’ in Battling China
Attorney General William Barr arrives to the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Bloomberg)

Barr Says U.S. Businesses ‘Part of Problem’ in Battling China


Attorney General William Barr said some U.S. businesses are helping China in the race for economic and technological dominance by putting their own earnings above the national interest.

Without naming any company, Barr portrayed parts of the U.S. business community as ingrates because “they’re willing -- ultimately, many of them -- to sacrifice the long-term viability of their companies for short-term profit, so they can get their stock options and move into the golf resort.”

While President Donald Trump is confronting China’s drive to supplant the West in areas including 5G network technology, “the American business community has been a big part of the problem,” Barr said in a pre-taped interview on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “They’re not taking the long-term view and the national view of maintaining the American strength.”

Barr couched his comments in the administration’s focus -- and Trump’s “America First” campaign theme -- of driving back China’s influence in the U.S. and around the world.

That includes “cracking down” on Chinese researchers “who are sent over to get involved in our key technological programs,” and urging western countries to “rally around” Finland-based Nokia Oyj and Sweden’s Ericsson AB as 5G platform providers to shut out Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., he said.

On the same program on May 31, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Europe “needs to get” Huawei “out of their system” as part of ensuring “that the next century remains a Western one.”

Evoking the national unity against Nazi Germany during World War II, Barr suggested that U.S. companies may be forgetting that they owe an allegiance to the U.S.

“You know what: We’re not speaking German today because the American business in the past didn’t think that way,” he said. “They stood with the United States. And all the privileges and the benefits and the stability and the rule of law and the ability to profit as they do, both as companies and as individuals, comes from the strength of this country.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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