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A tale of two records on China: President Obama vs. Mitt Romney

President Obama believes that when the playing field is level, American businesses and workers will always be able to compete and succeed against every other country on Earth. That’s why when it comes to protecting American workers, the President has never hesitated to take concrete actions to stand up to China on unfair trade policies:

  • After finding that a surge of tire imports had disrupted the U.S. domestic market, President Obama imposed strict tariffs on Chinese-made tires to safeguard the American industry from Chinese competition. Since then, we’ve added more than 1,000 American jobs in the tire industry.

  • President Obama is not afraid to fight back when he sees unfair trade practices hurting American workers—that’s why his administration has filed seven trade complaints against China in its first three and a half years, bringing cases at twice the rate of the Bush administration.

But while Mitt Romney likes to talk tough on China, his record says the opposite.

Romney’s new hard line against China stands in stark contrast to his position just a few years ago, when he called President Obama’s enforcement of trade laws against China “bad for the nation and our workers.” Here’s a timeline of Romney’s turnaround on China in under two years:

  • March 2010: After President Obama imposed tariffs on Chinese tires in order to enforce trade agreements and promote economic growth in the U.S., Romney wrote in his book “No Apology,” that “President Obama’s action to defend American tire companies from foreign competition may make good politics,” but that “it is decidedly bad for the nation and our workers. Protectionism stifles productivity.”

  • Late 2011: Romney’s financial advisers falsely claimed to have shed all his Chinese holdings after Romney made “confronting China” on trade a priority. While some investments in Chinese enterprises—worth as much as $1.5 million—were dumped in an attempt to conform his financial portfolio to his newfound political beliefs, it was later uncovered that Romney still holds a stake in funds that invest in China.

  • September 2011: Romney then released a new economic plan that proposed tougher trade sanctions on China.

While President Obama has a proven record of standing up to China and safeguarding American jobs, Romney has nothing but empty words. Reckless rhetoric aside, a closer look at his record on China reveals a startling level of hypocrisy. Romney’s policy shifts illustrate that, far from standing firm on principles, he’ll simply say whatever it takes to get elected.