Reuters says the "China question" has entered the 2012 Presidential race
As Reuters correspondent Paul Eckert sees it, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has just opened a whole new area of the GOP primary race:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's threat to get tough with Chinese trade practices has moved China from the background to a potentially significant issue in the 2012 presidential campaign.
The Romney campaign has released an economic/jobs plan, and one particular point is fairly startling. Romney says that one of the actions he'd take on day one of his presidency would be to cite China for currency manipulation.
Eckert reports that criticism of China has become "a more bipartisan affair" and quotes Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Executive Director on the timing of this rhetoric:
"Candidates are out there listening to voters, who are talking about these issues and they know that we are getting our lunch eaten by China," said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which has a major stake in trade with China.
Paul said a poll the group conducted in July showed that Republicans were as strong as Democrats in supporting more assertive U.S. trade policies toward China.
Eckert asked Paul about President Obama's record on China, and Paul explained that "President Obama has had five chances to name China as a currency manipulator, which they certainly are, and he's failed five times to do it":
Paul, who welcomed Romney's remarks, was referring to the twice annual report the Treasury Department submits to Congress on countries deemed to be manipulating their currencies. The Obama administration, like its predecessor, has demurred from naming China as a manipulator.
Paul also explained the historical precedent set by Ronald Reagan to address similar concerns in the mid-1980's:
"President Ronald Reagan was for free markets but he was willing to take on Japan on semi-conductors and, famously, the value of the yen," he said.
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