From day one, President Obama has made it a priority to protect American workers from China’s unfair trade practices. Since he took office, the U.S. has brought trade cases against China at over twice the rate than the Bush administration and imposed strict tariffs on Chinese-made tires to safeguard the American industry from unfair competition. Since then, our tire industry has added more than 1,000 American jobs.
Mitt Romney is now trying to distort the President’s record on standing up to China, claiming that he is the only candidate who will stop China from “cheating.” But a look at Romney’s financial record and past views on the subject say otherwise. Not only has Romney invested in Chinese companies and helped other companies outsource American jobs, he has stated that it’s wrong to stand up to China to protect American workers. As The New Republic reports, in 2009, Romney told what he called a “sophisticated audience” what he thought of President Obama’s decision to protect the American tire industry:
The tire workers of America look at these tires coming in from China and say this is not good for me. 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, as they protect their lack of productivity with barriers, they will become less and less competitive, the foreign guys will get more and more volume, more and more successful, they’ll become more and more productive, the domestic guys get less and less productive, less and less competitive, until finally even the tariff can’t hold them out and the foreign products come flooding into the marketplace and the domestic guys are gone. So putting barriers up, trying to put walls up, in my opinion is a defeating strategy and will yield ultimate decline and collapse.
Romney reiterated this sentiment in his book, No Apology, in 2010: “President Obama’s action to defend American tire companies from foreign competition may make good politics,” but “it is decidedly bad for the nation and our workers. Protectionism stifles productivity.”
How can Romney claim he’ll stand up to China’s unfair trade practices when he attacks President Obama for doing just that?