Congressman Ryan's speech today indicates a pivot on China policy

Posted by LDonia on 08/16/2012

In the past, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has criticized the Obama administration for not being tough enough on China's predatory trade policies. AAM believes a dialogue about China would be welcome in this year’s presidential cycle.

However, it’s still surprising to see that Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s running mate, will speak this morning in Canton, OH on China policy.

The Romney/Ryan campaign says in its press advisory that Ryan "will emphasize the need for trade that works for America and the need to make sure that our trading partners play by the rules. China steals our intellectual property, blocks our access to its market, and manipulates its currency…A Romney-Ryan administration will crack down on China’s cheating and make sure American businesses and workers can compete and win."

While this sounds like a great idea, it’s worth noting that Congressman Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin lost 56,938 jobs due to the U.S. trade deficit with China, or 2% of its total employment, between 2001-2010. Congressman Ryan’s district (Wisconsin’s 1st) lost just slightly fewer than 8,000 jobs to China. Despite these losses for his state, Ryan was among a small number of Republicans who voted against a bill to penalize China for its illegal currency manipulation.

It’s nice to see that, as a candidate for an executive office position, Congressman Ryan seems to have changed his tune, but we hope his support for getting tough on China will go beyond speeches and be translated into action both in his role as a Congressman and as a Vice President, should the Romney/Ryan ticket win the election.

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