Kevin O'Leary calls for 'extremely aggressive' steps to level the playing field with China

  • The U.S. should be "extremely aggressive" to level the playing field with China in the ongoing competition between the two sides, Kevin O'Leary told CNBC.
  • That could include delisting Chinese stocks and shutting Chinese companies out of the U.S. court system, the chairman of O'Shares ETFs said, admitting he is "a bit of a hawk" on this issue.

Acknowledging that he's a "bit of a hawk" toward China, Kevin O'Leary on Monday called for "extremely aggressive" steps to level the economic playing field between the United States and China.

The chairman of O'Shares ETFs told CNBC's Hadley Gamble that the United States should make Chinese companies face barriers in the U.S. market that he said are similar to those U.S. companies deal with in China.

That could include delisting Chinese stocks and shutting Chinese companies out of the U.S. court system, O'Leary said, adding that he is a manufacturer in China but faces barriers selling into the Chinese market.

"I can't sell my product there, and yet they enjoy those benefits in North America and in Europe," the celebrity investor told CNBC's "Capital Connection" on Monday.

Competition around trade and technology has sharpened between the United States and China in recent years. President Joe Biden has said Washington and its allies need to hold China accountable for its "abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system."

But O'Leary speculated that European countries will not take a strong stance against China because they're reliant on China. "This idea (that) we're going to form a coalition — not gonna happen," he said.

O'Leary said President Donald Trump had the "right policy," because China understands threats.

"Maybe … really, at the height of this, delist their stocks off exchanges in America, stop them from getting access to the courts because we don't have access to theirs," he said.

A number of Chinese companies have already been removed from the New York Stock Exchange this year.

European countries "can't afford the hit" of losing China's business, but the U.S. has latitude because its economy is still the world's largest, O'Leary said.

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