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Palmer addresses questions about China at Chelsea town hall

Tuesday, Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, addressed constituents’ concerns about China and trade at a town hall at the Chelsea Community Center.

“The so called-trade war we are in China is not really about trade,” Palmer said. “Xi (Jinping) believes he is the anointed one to fulfill the 100 year plan implemented by Mao (Zedong) in 1949. Their objective is not to become an economic power or a superpower; but to become the dominant global power.”

Palmer said that the Chinese have stolen our intellectual property, they have infiltrated our universities, they have control of the Panama Canal. The largest telecom company in South America is owned by a Chinese businessman.

“China is trying to create markets that will shut the U.S. out,” Palmer said. “China produces more steel than the rest of the world produces combined. “China is try8ng to put us in a very bad place economically.”

“Toward the end of the Barack Obama administration, a poll was taken and 40 percent of people in Australia saw us as a declined power and China as the rising power,” Palmer said. The President has changed that perception.

“We have had some very good meetings with Vietnam,” Palmer said. “They are fearful of China.”

Palmer said we have got to finish this deal with Mexico and Canada.

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“Pelosi is under a lot of pressure to put that on the floor,” Palmer said. “Our next trade agreement ins with Japan.”

“I would like to see do a trade agreement with Vietnam,” Palmer said. “We have been talking with Honduras.”

Palmer said that China and the U.S. are going to be in competition in sub-Saharan Africa. Those countries will be an emerging power in the next decades.

“We are in a Cold War of sorts with China,” Palmer said, but acknowledged; “I would much rather have the situation we have now than where we were in under Mao.”

China has experienced the greatest transformation of people to the middle class in history Palmer explained. The protests in Hong Kong is not all of the problems that Xi has. When you give people a taste of freedom with a growing economy, they are going to want more.

Palmer said that the United States has enormous oil and gas reserves that can be developed.

“We have the ability to be the top energy exporter in the world,” Palmer said. There is one estimate that we could export as much as $3.2 trillion in energy. When you are exporting that much there is taxes generated that could be used to pay down the debt.

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Palmer said that sub-Sahara Africa will be desperate for energy in coming decades and so will the nations of Southeast Asia.

What the Chinese are doing is creating markets Palmer said.

“Transportation infrastructure is going to be a big deal,” Palmer said. In Africa they are building trains for them. We don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines.”

Palmer said that our trade relationship with China since Nixon opened up the country economically has made the Chinese rich, but at the same time we have created tens of millions of people who want the same freedoms that we have here.

Chelsea is in Shelby County. According to the most recent Census estimate, Chelsea has a 2018 population of 13,531, up from 10,578 in 2010. The median household income in Chelsea is $96,591 – more than double the Alabama state average of $48,123 (2017). The population is also younger than the state average 34.8 years versus 39.0 statewide. The population of Chelsea is 90.7 percent white, 5.0 percent black, 2.0 percent Hispanic and 1.6 percent Asian.

Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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