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Once calling it “bad for the nation,” Romney now wants tougher policies toward China

Facing waning support in Michigan, Mitt Romney is trying out some tough talk on President Obama’s policies towards China. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal today, Romney wrote:

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.


As is often the case with Romney, his 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: Two years ago, President Obama imposed tariffs on Chinese tires in order to enforce trade agreements and promote economic growth in the U.S. In his book “No Apology,” Romney wrote 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.”

  • August 2011: A year later, Romney’s financial advisers in charge of his blind trusts shed his Chinese holdings after Romney made “confronting China” on trade a priority. His investments in Chinese enterprises were worth as much as $1.5 million before his advisers dumped them to assure his financial portfolio reflected his new-found political beliefs.

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

Romney’s policy shifts only illustrate that, far from standing firm on principles, he’ll simply say whatever it takes to get elected.