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Shipping Jobs & Money To China: The Obama Record

- September 26, 2012

OBAMA CANNOT CONTINUE TO IGNORE CHINA’S UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES

Obama Talked Tough On Chinese Currency Manipulation During The 2008 Campaign

Obama In 2008: If China Is “Devaluing Their Currency To Make Their Goods Cheaper And Our Goods More Expensive And We’re Not Challenging Them … Dumping Cheap Steel And Cheap Goods Into This Country Because They’re Subsidized By The Chinese Government And We’re Not Challenging Them, That’s Just Not Fair. It’s Not Right...” OBAMA: “If they’re devaluing their currency to make their goods cheaper and our goods more expensive and we’re not challenging them, if they’re stealing our intellectual property, our copyrights and we don’t say anything about it, we don’t take them before the World Trade Organization, if they’re dumping cheap steel and cheap goods into this country because they’re subsidized by the Chinese government and we’re not challenging them, that’s just not fair. It’s not right, and it’s going to undermine our economic condition over the long term.” (Craig Gilbert, “Candidates Berate China,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/13/08)

Obama: “When I’m President, I Won’t Have To Push The Administration To Do The Right Thing Because I’ll Be The Administration.” OBAMA: “As you know, I have consistently supported in the Senate going after China on this issue with legislation that would push the administration to do the right thing. When I’m president, I won’t have to push the administration to do the right thing because I’ll be the administration.” (Senator Barack Obama, Q&A At The AAM Forum, Pittsburgh, PA, 4/14/08)

In 2008, Obama Said He Had A “Pretty Straightforward Proposition” For China, “You Guys Keep On Manipulating Your Currency, We Are Going To Start Shutting Off Access To Some Of Our Markets.” OBAMA: “Now look, here’s the thing I think people don’t understand. China needs our market. Their economy is dependent on exports to the United States and we have bargaining power. The problem that we’ve got with China is not that we couldn’t work out a deal in which they are benefitting and we are benefitting. The problem is that through all the tough talk of George W. Bush, he is a patsy when it comes to negotiating these agreements. And, what we need to do is to just be better bargainers that say, ‘Look, here’s the bottom line, you guys keep on manipulating your currency, we are going to start shutting off access to some of our markets. If you are doing the right thing and not trying to manipulate your currency to disadvantage us, then you will have access.’ It’s a pretty, pretty straight forward proposition.” (Senator Barack Obama, Q&A At The AAM Forum, Pittsburgh, PA, 4/14/08)

But Since Taking Office, Obama Has Failed To Protect American Workers From China’s Unfair Currency Practices

In May 2012, The Treasury Department Said That China “Did Not Meet The Definition Of A Currency Manipulator Under Its Standards.” “The Treasury Department on Friday once again declined to name China a currency manipulator despite bipartisan calls for action from Congress. Treasury noted that China’s currency has appreciated against the dollar since June 2010, and said it did not meet the definition of a currency manipulator under its standards.” (Julian Pecquet, “Treasury: China Not Manipulating Currency,” The Hill’s “Global Affairs” Blog, 05/25/12)

  • Obama’s Decision To Avoid Labeling China As A Currency Manipulator Was A Retreat From His “Tough Talk” On The Campaign Trail. “The Treasury Department on Wednesday declined to label China a currency manipulator, retreating from tough talk last year when a campaigning Barack Obama said Beijing had kept its currency’s exchange rate unfairly low.” (Glenn Somerville and Doug Palmer, “U.S. Again Declines To Brand China Currency Manipulator,” Reuters, 4/25/09)

The Washington Post: “China’s Policy Has Probably Cost Americans Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs And Contributed To China’s Destabilizing Pile Of Trillions Of Dollars In Reserves.” “China’s undervalued renminbi is a long-standing, bipartisan concern, and it is not a phony one: In pursuit of growth led by exports, China has held the renminbi down in relation to the dollar, rendering its goods artificially cheap in the U.S. market. The renminbi would gain about 20 percent against the dollar if it were allowed to float freely like other currencies, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. China’s policy has probably cost Americans hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributed to China’s destabilizing pile of trillions of dollars in reserves.” (Editorial, “Breaking China? Last Thing Needed Is A Trade War,” The Washington Post, 9/1/11)

  • Obama’s Failure To Confront China Cost The United States 450,000 Jobs From 2008 To 2010. “American jobs have been shifting to low-wage countries for years, and the trend has continued during Obama’s presidency. From 2008 to 2010, U.S. trade with China alone cost about 450,000 American jobs because of the growth of Chinese exports, said Robert E. Scott, a pro-labor advocate at the liberal Economic Policy Institute. That figure was less than in previous years, but the decrease was probably tied to the U.S. economic slowdown, which crimped demand for imports. ‘I think he has walked away from the campaign commitments,’ said Scott, the institute’s director of trade and manufacturing policy research. ‘He has done far too little to improve U.S. trade.’” (Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig and Zachary A. Goldfarb, “Obama’s Record On Outsourcing Draws Criticism From The Left,” The Washington Post, 7/9/12)
  • Scott Paul, Head Of The Alliance For American Manufacturing, Is “Perplexed” By Obama’s Refusal To Label China A Currency Manipulator. “But Obama’s critics say the most important step the president could take — but hasn’t — is to declare China a ‘currency manipulator,’ which could ultimately allow the U.S. government to erect tariffs to protect American industries. ‘I’m perplexed by this decision because it runs counter to the goal of re-shoring jobs from China,’ Scott Paul, head of the labor-backed Alliance for American Manufacturing, said in a May statement.” (Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig and Zachary A. Goldfarb, “Obama’s Record On Outsourcing Draws Criticism From The Left,” The Washington Post, 7/9/12)
  • “Obama’s Critics, Primarily On The Political Left, Say He Has Repeatedly Failed In Other Ways To Protect American Jobs From Being Moved Overseas” Including Confronting China. “While White House officials say they have been waiting on Congress to act, Obama’s critics, primarily on the political left, say he has repeatedly failed in other ways to protect American jobs from being moved overseas. They point to a range of actions they say he should have taken: confronting China, reining in unfettered trade and reworking a U.S. visa program that critics say ends up sending high-tech jobs abroad.” (Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig and Zachary A. Goldfarb, “Obama’s Record On Outsourcing Draws Criticism From The Left,” The Washington Post, 7/9/12)


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