Mitt Romney wants reciprocity with China when it comes to government procurement.
The United States government is a leading signatory to the World Trade Organization (WTO) “Government Procurement Agreement” (GPA). The GPA ensures that participating nations can compete on an equal footing and share reciprocal access to government contracts. Many industrialized nations are signatories to the GPA. However, China has not signed the agreement.
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney says that it's unfair for the U.S. government to open its contracts to Chinese manufacturers when Beijing is unwilling to do the same in return. He has explicitly stated on his campaign website that if he were president, he would "discontinue U.S. government procurement from China until China commits to GPA."
Romney's strong words on market access aren't confined to his campaign website. In the Wall Street Journal's "China Real Time Report," correspondent Bob Davis said that Romney has promised his administration would be "ordering the U.S. government not to buy Chinese goods and services."
Romney made a similar point in an op-ed in the Oct. 13, 2011 Washington Post that called for reciprocity in government procurement. In laying out his approach to trade with China, Romney cited some serious ongoing problems:
- That China "favors and subsidizes domestic producers over foreign competitors";
- That when American companies "try to do business in the Chinese market, they find policies designed to shut them out";
In response, Romney offered two blunt proposals:
- He would begin "by designating China as the currency manipulator it is;"
- He would insist on "reciprocity in government procurement."
This is tough campaign talk, and it's unclear if Romney is simply telling voters what they want to hear, according to recent national polling. Or, it may be that the former Massachusetts governor is genuinely committed to strengthening the hand of America's manufacturers.
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