Despite Romney’s populist stance as willing to be “tough on China” – he has a long track record of being against tariffs. When thousands of American jobs were flooding overseas because of cheap Chinese tires …. President Obama took action and slapped tariffs on China. Romney criticized that idea in his book saying it was “protectionism”.
China challenged America’s tariffs at the WTO court and lost; Obama was right and Romney was wrong … part 1,226.
March of 1998 – Daily Finance brings us this gem from Romney HERE:
Romney’s posture on China’s economic expansion was far less confrontational when he headed Bain Capital. In March 1998, while attending a forum on the future of U.S. cities, he extolled China’s workplaces, which have in recent years come under fire for exploiting Chinese workers.
“I went to a factory of 5,000 workers making bread makers and so forth,” said Romney, then the CEO of Bain. He said they were “working, working, working, as hard as they could, at rates of roughly 50 cents an hour. They cared about their jobs; they wouldn’t even look up as we walked by.”
6/11/2006 – Mitt Romney told Bloomberg this HERE:
Q. Is the U.S. losing its innovation edge to emerging powers such as China and India?
A. China and the rest of Asia are on the move economically and technologically. We must be ready and able to compete. This means ensuring our children are educated to compete in this new market, our trade laws are fair and balanced, and our economy and tax laws welcome new investment. If America acts boldly and swiftly, the emergence of Asia will be an opportunity. Trade and commerce with these huge new economies can further strengthen our economy and propel our growth. If America fails to act, we will be eclipsed.
12/14/2006 - Mitt Romney told National Review Online this HERE:
“Two things from my China trip stand out. First, they will be a more powerful economic competitor than we in America recognize. They are hard working, market oriented, and smart. They even have some lower taxes in some areas than we do. Bottom line: They are competing to win. Second, it is important for us as a nation to reach out to China and to chart out a course that is consistent with a free economy and a free society. This goal must be consistent with our own principles.”
6/21/2007 – Romney is on video HERE (embedding not allowed) calling for greater cooperation with China. He never calls for tougher actions with China merely working in tandem with them to smooth out differences.
September of 2009 – Romney spoke to the Foreign Policy Initiative where he was asked specifically what he would do about President Obama’s decision to slap tariffs on cheap Chinese tires that were coming into America and killing jobs for American tire factories. Obama slapped tariffs on Chinese tires due to China’s manipulation of markets; Romney’s answer however was very different. Romney said “this is a sophisticated audience” as in – no dummies will misunderstand what I’m saying here; he then proceeds to explain precisely why Obama’s decision was a bad decision without mentioning him by name. The New Republic found this video and has the transcript HERE:
“And I understand that and they — and the corporations, it’s not just the unions by the way, it’s the corporate executives and the shareholders and all the wealth owners, capitalists behind the tire industry – are saying don’t let those foreign tires in here, it’s gonna hurt me. And it will — as those tires come in it does hurt them directly, and therefore what their response is, their immediate response is, don’t let them in. But if that’s what their response is, my experience is over time, they will lose out slowly but surely.”
“So putting barriers up, trying to put walls up, in my opinion is a defeating strategy and will yield ultimate decline and collapse. The alternative strategy, by the way, as you know is, to say, OK, those guys have figured out a way to make tires in a more productive way than we have, and we’re going to have to find another way to compete. “
And Romney called Obama’s actions to protect American businesses from unfair trade practices by China “protectionism” HERE:
In September 2009, Obama used an anti-import surge provision of China’s entry agreement to the WTO to slap duties on tire imports from China for three years.
The case stood out because Bush rejected several similar petitions on the grounds that restricting imports would not be in the United States’ economic interest and that other foreign suppliers would fill the gap.
Romney, in his book “No Apology,” criticized Obama’s decision to slap tariffs on Chinese tires as “protectionism” that would stifle U.S. productivity and as a political payoff to unions for supporting his 2008 campaign.
Beijing challenged Obama’s tire tariffs at WTO and lost. The tariffs expire in September.
Adam Hersch writes an op-ed at CNN HERE; in fairness – while I agree with him … his think tank is allied with Obama.
What we know of Romney’s track record is less than encouraging. He has profited from shuttering American factories and reopening them in China and other low-wage countries. According to our analysis, his tax proposals would further widen the loopholes that incentivize corporate offshoring. And his gaffe-laden trip this summer to London, Poland, and Israel drew rebukes even from Republican political operative Karl Rove.
Meanwhile, Obama has already accomplished most of what Romney pledges to do on trade, and more. Romney’s 59 point economic plan calls for implementing trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, and negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral agreement between partners on both sides of the Pacific. The president has already checked these off his to-do list.
Then there is the revelation by Mother Jones that showed Romney invested millions in a Chinese firm that benefited from the outsourcing of U.S. jobs HERE:
On April 17, 1998, Brookside Capital Partners Fund, a Bain Capital affiliate, filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission noting that it had acquired 6.13 percent of Hong Kong-based Global-Tech Appliances, which manufactured household appliances in a production facility in the industrial city of Dongguan, China. That August, according to another SEC filing, Brookside upped its interest in Global-Tech to 10.3 percent. Both SEC filings identified Romney as the person in control of this investment: “Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookside Inc. and thus is the controlling person of Brookside Inc.” Each of these documents was signed by Domenic Ferrante, a managing director of Brookside and Bain.
At the time Romney was acquiring shares in Global-Tech, the firm publicly acknowledged that its strategy was to profit from prominent US companies outsourcing production abroad. On September 4, 1998, Global-Tech issued a press release announcing it was postponing completion of a $30 million expansion of its Dongguan facility because Sunbeam, a prominent American consumer products company and a major client of Global-Tech, was cutting back on outsourcing as part of an overall consolidation. But John C.K. Sham, Global-Tech’s president and CEO, said, “Although it appears that customers such as Sunbeam are not outsourcing their manufacturing as quickly as we had anticipated, we still believe that the long-term trend toward outsourcing will continue.” Global-Tech, which in mid-1998 announced fiscal year sales of $118.3 million (an increase of 89 percent over the previous year), also manufactured household appliances for Hamilton Beach, Mr. Coffee, Proctor-Silex, Revlon, and Vidal Sassoon, and its chief exec was hoping for more outsourcing from these and other American firms.
More on the hidden video of Romney talking about that HERE.
As for Obama on China – the Washington Post says America keeps racking “up wins against China” at the WTO HERE:
In other areas of the economy, the Obama administration, like the George W. Bush administration, has proven adept at mounting successful challenges. Of 14 complaints brought by the United States against China, 11 have essentially prevailed. Three cases are pending. China has won three cases it brought against the United States and lost a fourth.
But winning in the courtroom is often only the start of the battle. What typically follows are negotiations between the two sides that determine what changes the losing side will make in its trade practices. Early cases won discrete benefits for the United States — such as the lifting of tax preferences that China offered its local companies — but later cases have bogged down in settlement talks.
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