Romney Heating Up on China Trade Issue

Ian Fletcher

BY IAN FLETCHER

As I predicted nearly a year ago, Mitt Romney is heating up his offensive on the China trade issue.

His campaign blog has just released a page promising that “I will ensure China plays by the rules,” and blaming the Obama administration for not doing so, starting with currency manipulation.

There’s a short video clip of Romney saying the same in a speech:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Jj-nV45We7A

The Romney campaign also sent out an e-mail blast on the subject, signed by Romney’s Taiwanese-American policy director Lanhee Chen:

[Recipient],

Year after year, President Obama has had the chance to label China a currency manipulator. But he hasn’t.

When China cheats by holding down the value of their currency compared with ours, it makes their products artificially cheap. It’s a rigged set-up that drives American manufacturers and American producers out of business, and kills jobs.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will hold China accountable, and ensure they play by the rules. American goods, and the hardworking people who produce them, deserve a fair shake in the global marketplace.

Help us win in November so we can put an end to China’s cheating.

It’s time for China to play fair. With your help, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and the Republican team will make sure it does.

Thank you,

Lanhee Chen, Ph.D.

Policy Director

Romney for President, Inc.

So… Do these guys mean it? I can’t tell for sure, but they’re responding appropriately to the many people I think have asked to them to beef up their somewhat soft public position on America’s China trade problem.

If they’re planning to use Obama’s inaction on this issue as a serious vote getter (which it should be), they’ve not got a lot of time left. Maybe Romney is planning to ambush Obama at the debates with it?


The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Ian Fletcher, is Senior Economist of the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a nationwide grass-roots organization dedicated to fixing America’s trade policies and comprising representatives from business, agriculture, and labor. He was previously Research Fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council, a Washington think tank, and before that, an economist in private practice serving mainly hedge funds and private equity firms. Educated at Columbia University and the University of Chicago, he lives in San Francisco. He is the author of Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace It and Why.