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Romney: "I will not continue an economic relationship that rewards China's cheating and penalizes American companies and workers"
Howard Richman, 2/19/2012

In the February 16 Wall Street Journal, Mitt Romney had a commentary about China (How I'll respond to China's Rising Power). He criticized President Obama's failures in China negotiations, attributing them to to Obama's other goals:

President Obama came into office as a near supplicant to Beijing, almost begging it to continue buying American debt so as to finance his profligate spending here at home. His administration demurred from raising issues of human rights for fear it would compromise agreement on the global economic crisis or even "the global climate-change crisis." Such weakness has only encouraged Chinese assertiveness and made our allies question our staying power in East Asia.

Romney plans a tough policy on China's trade cheating:

In the economic arena, we must directly counter abusive Chinese practices in the areas of trade, intellectual property, and currency valuation. While I am prepared to work with Chinese leaders to ensure that our countries both benefit from trade, I will not continue an economic relationship that rewards China's cheating and penalizes American companies and workers.

Unless China changes its ways, on day one of my presidency I will designate it a currency manipulator and take appropriate counteraction. A trade war with China is the last thing I want, but I cannot tolerate our current trade surrender.

Meanwhile China's president-in-waiting Xi Jinping's five-day visit to the United States last week resulted in an agreement that China would cheat a bit less, as it continues to pursue its strategy of keeping out legitimate American movies, music and software while permitting their piracy. Reuter's reports:

At the end of Vice President Xi's five-day trip, his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden announced China had agreed to make it easier for Hollywood to distribute movies to China's expanding audiences. Xi (pronounced "shee") told a business forum in Los Angeles that China would promote greater domestic demand and turn more to the United States to buy imports and send investment....

The U.S. movie industry has long complained about China's restrictions on the number of foreign films allowed into the country each year, a limit that they say boosts demand for the bootleg DVDs that are widely available in China.

The film announcement does not remove China's quota system, but it might ease some of the ire.

The agreement allows more American exports to China of 3D, IMAX, and enhanced-format movies, and also expands opportunities to distribute films through private enterprises rather than the state film monopoly, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said.

Apparently, the increased access of American movies to China's handful of 3-D theaters won't affect China's policy of keeping American movies out of its 2-D theaters so that Chinese-made movies will play in those theaters. Nor will China stop delaying the sale of legitimate American movie DVDs, music CDs and computer games while freely permitting their piracy. But it is the best the Obama adminstration can do.

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Comment by , 2/20/2012:

if the US-China relationship is the most important relation of the two countries, then usin cheating to describe the relationship is neither respectful nor truthful.

Response to this comment by Howard Richman, 2/20/2012:
The more appropriate term is "mercantilism". It is the beggar-thy-neighbor strategy of running an intentional trade surplus.


Comment by M, 2/21/2012:

I'm not buying "it". He might have invoked the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt... "Speak softly, but carry a big stick". When clear and present consequences exist, politicians do not need to resort to bellicose policy declarations. 

Mitt Romney's words imply some type of unilateral action.  Imply being the operative word, because the lack details of the enforcement mechanism in his explicit plan is uninspired.  Branding China a currency manipulator seems inadequate.....? Is the country ready to support a trade war with China, begun in order to allow Hollywood to sell smut in China without using a state sponsored distribution partner. Really?




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