A container ship in Felixstowe, England, January 2015.
Toby Melville / REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump is right to shine a spotlight on trade issues with China. No other country in the world plays such an important role in international trade while also pursuing a mercantilist economic policy. In fact, China hands and trade professionals broadly agree that the country has blocked or impeded U.S. firms—from financial groups to automotive businesses—from competing fairly in the Chinese market. China’s poor protections for intellectual property rights and other problems also place U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage.

Trump is still assembling his Asia team and developing his approach to trade, but reminding Beijing that there are significant aspects of China’s economic and trade policy that are unfair to foreign businesses is not a bad way for him to start the discussion. After that, he’ll have to pursue the policy approach most likely to produce the results

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  • FRANK LAVIN is CEO of Export Now and the former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade.
  • More By Frank Lavin