China conundrum: Romney event site benefited from Obama trade action
September 26th, 2012
03:21 PM ET
2 years ago

China conundrum: Romney event site benefited from Obama trade action

(CNN) – Despite Mitt Romney's ongoing attack against President Barack Obama for not protecting American businesses against China, the Republican nominee held an event at a company Wednesday that may have benefited from an Obama administration trade action against the country.

Romney held a roundtable discussion on manufacturing with business leaders at American Spring Wire's headquarters in Bedford Heights, Ohio as part of his campaign's three-day bus tour across the Buckeye State.

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The same company, along with two steel wire companies from North Carolina and Tennessee, petitioned the government on May 27, 2009 to look into a trade issue, arguing that Chinese firms were selling steel wire products in the U.S. at less than normal value. On June 17, 2009, the Department of Commerce announced a decision to start investigating the problem.

A year later, the International Trade Administration, a division within the Commerce Department, announced it was ordering an "antidumping" duty on "prestressed concrete steel wire" strands from China. It also announced a countervailing duty, aimed to counter subsidized products coming from other countries.

As part of the order, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were instructed to suspend liquidation on the merchandise from China and "require cash deposits equal to the estimated amount by which the normal value exceeds the U.S. price," according to a Commerce statement issuing the order at the time.

The department regularly issues antidumping and countervailing duty orders on products being imported at unfair prices-a policy in place before Obama took office. Under his administration, more than 53 such orders have been issued, 39 of which have been against China.

Romney's campaign, however, argued the president "deserves no credit" for enforcing policies that have already been in place.

"President Obama deserves no credit for an agency enforcing pre-existing law on behalf of private parties bringing legitimate legal claims," campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said Wednesday in a statement. "The fact remains that President Obama does not have a comprehensive strategy to confront China's systematic violations of its trade obligations."

While aggressively courting Ohio voters in recent weeks, Romney has been railing against Obama for being weak against China. The Republican nominee particularly takes aim at the administration's decision not to label the country a "currency manipulator," a designation that would allow the United States to more directly confront China over actions that have cheapened Chinese exports, undercut the prices of American goods and produced economic growth rates for China several times that of the U.S.

While critics caution that such a label could ultimately trigger a trade war with China, Romney has released two negative ads on the issue and made it a main point of contrast while speaking at the steel wire company Wednesday.

"One of nations that has cheated over the years has been China. They've artificially held down the value of their currency and by doing that, their prices and their products are artificially low," he said. "Our guys go out of business, people lose jobs."

Romney vowed on his first day in office he would label the country a "currency manipulator."

"They must not steal jobs in an unfair way," he said.

Obama, meanwhile, has been trying to bolster his stance against China. Last week, the president announced his administration filed its ninth trade complaint against China with the World Trade Organization, claiming the country illegally subsidizes automotive exports and undercut American suppliers.

His campaign released a web video Wednesday, criticizing Romney for talking tough on China but not hesitating to make money off Chinese companies in the past.

"Romney invested in China's version of YouTube–a haven for stealing American videos," the narrator says in the 30-second video. "Romney's even invested in a Chinese electronics company being sued by Microsoft for pirating its software."

The video concludes: "If Romney really wanted China to stop stealing, why would he send them his money?"

The Romney campaign also responded to the web video Wednesday.

"Mitt Romney will not take hypocritical attacks from a President who promised to take China to the mat for its unfair trade practices and wound up being China's doormat, at the expense of American workers," Henneberg said.

– CNN's Jim Acosta and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • China • Mitt Romney • Ohio • Trade
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Romney the tax cheat and lyin Ryan the bambi killer are done and king Ann should have bailed out over the Cayman islands to pick up some offshore money for the romney losing campaign .

    September 26, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. Willis

    Have you ever seen a more pathetic fake plastic human being in your life???

    September 26, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Mitt is a dinosaur , we need more then he has to offer.

    Romney / Ryan
    We mean what we say , we don't remember what we said 2012

    September 26, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. rosco

    f it feels a little harder to pay the bills, it might be because median household incomes have fallen 8.2 percent since President Obama took office — and continue to drop despite the official end of the recession, study shows.

    September 26, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. alien

    Romneys a hypocrtical success.

    September 26, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Facts don't Lie

    as much as Romney and his sorry excuse for a campaign keep trying to spin things they are going to keep running into issues like this. And all they can do is say that "Obama deserves NO credit for things such as this, BUT he deserves blame for everything else". This is no longer working folks and people are seeing right through it and many are getting bored with it. I know I for one am.

    September 26, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. 2020

    Romney, you finally did something makes a whole lot of sense.

    Visit the manufacturing plant that the President has fought for against China.

    See, what you have said in past months proved you were wrong then, you are wrong now.

    September 26, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    Vote all the Repub/teap out! They are shameful like Romney and Ryan!

    September 26, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Tony from Oakland, Ca.

    Isn't this the same guy (Romney) who fasely decried 47% of the Country pays no Federal taxation and mooches from the Government after finding out his own Mother/Father collected food stamps from the US Government after escaping to the US from exile in Mexico where they had exiled from the US to engage in Polygamy, as Mormons???? What a mess............
    This is who Republicans have nominated for Presidential Candidate within their Party???

    September 26, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. 2020

    rosco, you have been in this position for 20 years, you just noticed now because of the financial meltdown in 2007 – 2008.

    You are not alone, as middle class, you and us have been in the dump for so long, we could really pin down the devil.

    Now you know, GOP in Congress.

    September 26, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. alien

    It was stated that before a more global economy took hold that after every recession it took about 17 months on averageto fully recover the recession in 2001 took 39 months to fully recover, it is projected to take up to 60 to fully recover after the GW Bush great recession.

    September 26, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. Joi Gibson

    This guy is a piece of work. He says the President does not challenge China, but when it is shown the President has, then Willard says he does not deserve any credit. All Wiilard does is complain, moan and groan. Stop whining!! Does Willard stand for anything? He's not sure what he said, but he stands behind it, whatever it was. And some folks really want this man as President. It is frightening.

    OBAMA/BIDEN/FIRST LADY MICHELLE 2012!!!

    September 26, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Joe

    As Pinochhio Mittster says, Im going to save this Industry like I saved the Car Business.........The man has no Soul.

    September 26, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Joe

    I dont know what I said but I stand by whatever it was. What a WHACKJOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 26, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. jinx88

    Romney vowed on his first day in office he would label the country a "currency manipulator." Romney has alot do on his first day IF elected. Excuse me, I almost threw up in my mouth the thought of Romney becoming president.

    September 26, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Does Willard stand for anything?"

    Nope. Not even for peeing.

    September 26, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. rs

    If he wins and runs this country like his campaign- we're doomed.

    September 26, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. mcskadittle

    you would think that his team would do a little checking up on things like this, doesn't give much confidence that he run an adminstration

    September 26, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. California Gary

    Oops..........Romney's front man on this one dropped the ball. Picked a business that benefitted from Obama's actions for Romney to claim Obama has taken no action. Then Romney comes up with "but he deserves no credit" to try and save the moment? I really don't know how Romney has gotten as far as he has in this world......the guy is a loser.

    September 26, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. myviewis

    Bottom line, everytime any of us purchases an item Made in China, we are all participating in helping China take jobs away from Americans. iPhone, iPac,HP, Sony, etc.. all made in China.

    September 26, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Malory Archer

    American Spring Wire, huh? Is that where the photo was taken in which everyone in the photo looked like they wished they could be somewhere else, but were told to show up with their kids or their jobs would no longer exist?

    September 26, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    Mitt is just snake bit.

    September 26, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. TY

    rosco

    f it feels a little harder to pay the bills, it might be because median household incomes have fallen 8.2 percent since President Obama took office — and continue to drop despite the official end of the recession, study shows.

    You sound foolish, ask yourself are you in a right to work state, where employers can pay you what they want . Don't blame this on the President. Blame it on the state . Am so sick of hearing the Obama is the blame for everything. Maybe you need to look in the mirror and where you work. RIGHT TO WORK is a REP thing..........................next they be changing the min wage to $4

    September 26, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. AL in West Palm Beach

    That company should worry that Romney is only touring the plant to report to the country where is pocket's interest lies.

    Romney's critic toward the president is like my neighbor screaming that my riding mower is too loud but comes by the very next day to borrow it because it does a great job on my lawn.

    Really?

    September 26, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. cali girl

    I wonder how many "paid" people are at this event, just like the Telemundo interview, and his temper tantrum before going on the show, then the coal miners made to stand behind Robmey with out being paid for their work lost time.

    September 26, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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