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Mitt Romney on Free Trade

Former Republican Governor (MA)


Trade with China only if they follow international rules

China has an interest in trade. China has 20 million people coming out of the farms and coming into the cities every year, they want to be able to put them to work. They want to have access to global markets. And so we have right now something they need very badly, which is access to our market and our friends around the world, we have that power over China. To make sure that we let them understand that in order for them to continue to have free and open access to the thing they want so badly, our markets, they have to play by the rules.

They can't hack into our computer systems and steal from our government. They can't steal patents and designs from corporations. And they also can't manipulate their currency in such a way as to make their prices well below what they otherwise would be.

We have to have China understand that like everybody else on the world stage, they have to play by the rules. And if they do, we'll have open trade with them and work with them.

Source: 2011 debate in South Carolina on Foreign Policy , Nov 12, 2011

Go to WTO about China; we're already in a trade war

Q: How can the US make China follow the rules of international trade?

Romney: Well number one, on day one, it's acknowledging something which everyone knows, they're a currency manipulator. And on that basis, we also go before the W.T.O. [World Trade Organization] and bring an action against them as a currency manipulator. And that allows us to apply, selectively, tariffs where we believe they are stealing our intellectual property, hacking into our computers, or artificially lowering their prices and killing American jobs. We can't just sit back and let China run all over People say, "Well, you'll start a trade war." There's one going on right now, folks. They're stealing our jobs. And we're going to stand up to China.

Source: 2011 debate in South Carolina on Foreign Policy , Nov 12, 2011

China is a currency manipulator; go after them for cheating

ROMNEY [on videotape]: I will label China as it is, a currency manipulator, and I will go after them for stealing our intellectual property, and they will recognize that if they cheat, there is a price to pay. I certainly don't want a trade war with anybody, and we're not going to have a trade war, but we can't have a trade surrender either.

Q: [to Huntsman]: You were ambassador to China, and you say that this would risk a trade war. But if China is indeed keeping its currency low, that means tha everything they sell in this country is artificially cheap and everything that our companies try to sell in China is artificially expensive. So what do you say to people who ask, aren't we already in a trade war with China?

HUNTSMAN: I don't subscribe to the Mitt Romney school of international trade. I don't want to find ourselves in a trade war. With respect to China, if you start slapping penalties on them based on countervailing duties, you're going to get the same thing in return

Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

China doesn't want to have a trade war; so push hard

Q: Candidates have talked tough on China before--George W. Bush did it, Barack Obama did it--but once elected, the president takes a much more cautious approach.

A: They have been played like a fiddle by the Chinese. And the Chinese are smiling all the way to the bank, taking our currency and taking our jobs and taking a lot of our future. And I'm not willing to let that happen. We've got to call cheating for what it is.

Q: Isn't that risking a trade war?

A: Well, now, think about that. We buy this much stuff from China; they buy that much stuff from us. You think they want to have a trade war? This is a time when we're being hollowed out by China that is artificially holding down their prices. On day one, I will issue an executive order identifyin China as a currency manipulator. We'll bring an action against them in front of the WTO for manipulating their currency. If you're not willing to stand up to China, you'll get run over by China. And that's what's happened for 20 years.

Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

Trade is good for the nation, but not good for everybody

US companies faced with innovative and less costly products from overseas have to make one of two choices. They can invest in new technologies, innovations, and productivity improvements themselves and beat the foreign competition at its own game--a process that often requires unions and suppliers to make adjustments.

Alternatively, US companies can argue for protection, hold on as long as possible, and slowly watch their market share wane

The case for trade makes good economic sense--trade improves the wages and standard of living for the average citizen. But trade can disrupt and devastate those individuals directly affected. Owners and shareholders may lose money, of course. But it is the employees and managers, from the shop floor to the drifting tables to delivery trucks, who take the brunt of the pain. Trade is good for the nation and for the average citizen, but it is decidedly not good for everybody.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.114-115 , Mar 2, 2010

Protectionism stifles productivity, under Bush AND Obama

When a country has artificially held down the value of its currency, we must act. Government should also act to stem dangerous foreign environmental policies and to block products produced by child labor. In some cases, an industry may request short-term --VERY short-term--breathing room so that it can adjust to new competitive threat. Such requests should be granted only when it's clear that the affected American industry can and will act decisively to regain a truly competitive position. But for every request for protection or subsidy that is warranted, a hundred or more others are not. The Bush administration's decision to protect the US steel industry is a case in point--I agree with those who have concluded that it did more harm than good. Pres. Obama's action to defend American tire companies from foreign competition may make good politics by repaying unions for their support of his campaign, but it is decidedly bad for the nation and our workers. Protectionism stifles protectionism
Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.119 , Mar 2, 2010

Re-negotiate trade deals with China and other countries

I understand why jobs come and why jobs go. Iíve done business in over 20 countries around the world, and I understand how we can build more strength in our own economy and thatís by investing in education, investing in technology and innovation, getting ourselves off of foreign oil, and making sure that the playing field we play on around the world is level. Itís not right now. Weíre going to have to re-negotiate deals with people like those in China that manipulate their currency to put their products in advantage over ours. We want to make sure that we do not have a circumstance where people close down their markets to our goods because we can compete anywhere in the world. One out of three agricultural acres is planted to go off-shore, so donít put up barriers to keep us from being able to trade. The US can compete anywhere in the world, and to remain a superpower, we must compete around the world.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate , Dec 12, 2007

Open up markets to American goods and services

Q: Are you a Bush Republican on trade?

A: Well, I believe in trade, but I believe in opening up markets to American goods and services. And itís been calculated that the average family in America is $9,000 a year richer because we have the ability to sell products around the world, and a lot of people in this country make their living making products that go around the world. I want to make sure that the American worker gets a fair shake. We need to make sure that the Chinese begin to float their currency, and they protect our designs and our patents and our technology. We need to make sure that the American workers donít have to carry the burden of extra taxes as we sell our products around the world. They come here without that tax embedded. We can do a better job, and I want to do a better job for the American worker.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

Businesspeople should negotiate trade, not politicians

The people who negotiate these agreements, the people who sit down with the Chinese and sit down with the Mexicans and others, are people, by and large, whoíve spent their life in politics, and the politicians come together and try and understand how the economy works.

I think Iím probably the only guy on the stage whoís spent most of his career in the business world. I understand how the economy works. I understand how if you make a certain adjustment in the agreement, itís going to have a huge impact on the United States.

And so for instance, if we agree to sit down with China, I understand that if we donít get real careful and protect patents and designs and technology, intellectual property is going to get stolen by the Chinese. I recognize weíre going to have to have people who understand how the business world works, how the economy works, and make sure that the playing field really is level by having people that understand the economy and the business world being part of that effort.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

Emergence of Asia is an opportunity for trade and commerce

To remain the economic and military superpower, America must address competing with Asia. China and Asia are on the move economically and technologically. They are a family oriented, educated, hard-working, and mercantile people. We must be ready and able to compete. If America acts boldly and swiftly, the emergence of Asia will be an opportunity. Trade and commerce with these huge new economies can further strengthen our economy and propel our growth. If America fails to act, we will be eclipsed.
Source: PAC website, www.TheCommonwealthPac.com, ďMeet MittĒ , Dec 1, 2006

Other governors on Free Trade: Mitt Romney on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Deval Patrick
MA Senatorial:
John Kerry
Scott Brown

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Contact info:
Campaign website:
www.mittromney.com/
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 55239, Boston, MA 02205

Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011