RNC: Five Misleading Claims In Obama’s China Remarks Today

OBAMA CLAIM VS. REALITY: Focused On Trade Every Single Day

WHAT OBAMA WILL CLAIM: “You can talk a good game, or you can play one — and my experience has been waking up every single day doing everything I can to give American workers a fair shot in the global economy.” (“Excerpts: Obama To Talk Trade Enforcement Against China In Ohio,” CNN, 9/17/12)

  • REALITY: Not Even Democrats Can Agree With The President On That.
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH): “The U.S. Treasury Department Has Given China A Free Pass When It Comes To Its Currency Manipulation.” “‘Once again, the U.S. Treasury Department has given China a free pass when it comes to its currency manipulation,’ Brown said. ‘While we’re seeing American manufacturing rebound, China is stepping up its efforts in a number of critical sectors, including clean and solar energy, advanced manufacturing, and auto parts.’” (Press Release, “Treasury Giving China A ‘Free Pass’ On Currency Manipulation,” Senator Sherrod Brown, 5/25/12)
  • Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY): “The Administration Continues To Let China Get Away With Flouting Trade Rules Just For The Sake Of Diplomacy.” “Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has been sponsored legislation that would punish Chinese imports for the undervalued currency, also criticized the administration’s report. ‘The administration continues to let China get away with flouting trade rules just for the sake of diplomacy. Calling out China as a manipulator may be awkward, but it is time to take off the kid glove,’ he said in a statement.’” (Julian Pecquet, “Treasury: China Not Manipulating Currency,” The Hill ‘s “Global Affairs” Blog , 5/25/12)
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) Urged Obama To “Pursue The Aggressive Policies” Needed To Protect American Companies And Jobs. “‘China’s unfair trade practices and economic policies are harming companies and costing jobs in Pennsylvania and across the country,’ said Senator Casey. ‘I urge President Obama to address these concerns with the Chinese Vice President and pursue the aggressive policies I have advocated to give Pennsylvania workers and manufacturers a chance to compete.’” (Senator Bob Casey, Casey Urges Obama to Get Tough On China Ahead Of Visit From Chinese Vice President,” Press Release, 2/14/12)
  • Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH): “China Continues To Flout International Trade Laws By Manipulating Its Currency Value To Increase Its Trade Advantages. … This Is Completely Unacceptable. All That Our People Are Asking For Is A Level Playing Field.” “In March, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, and Congressman Mike Michaud, D-Maine, drafted a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to address China’s continued currency manipulation. ‘China continues to flout international trade laws by manipulating its currency value to increase its trade advantages,’ Ryan said. ‘This is completely unacceptable. All that our people are asking for is a level playing field.’” (Editorial, “Cheating Robs U.S., Area Of Jobs,”Tribune Chronicle, 6/15/12)


WHAT OBAMA WILL CLAIM: “When other countries don’t play by the rules, we’ve done something about it. We’ve brought more trade cases against China in one term than the previous administration did in two — and we’ve won.” (“Excerpts: Obama To Talk Trade Enforcement Against China In Ohio,” CNN, 9/17/12)

  • REALITY: Obama Is Manipulating The Stats And “Fails To Acknowledge Time For China After It Joined To Adjust To New WTO Regulation.” “Though the statistic takes into account the fact that China didn’t join the WTO until nearly a year into Bush’s term, it fails to acknowledge time for China after it joined to adjust to new WTO regulation. By contrast, Obama’s administration could hit the ground running.” (“President Barack Obama Says His Administration Has Nearly Doubled Rate Of China Trade Cases,” Politifact , 4/13/12)
  • As A New Entrant To The WTO, China Was Given A “Honeymoon” Period. “But there’s a distinction between the two presidencies, what we’ll call China’s ‘honeymoon.’ China joined the WTO in 2001, after Bush took office. At that point, member countries essentially gave China a grace period to follow the new rules.” (“President Barack Obama Says His Administration Has Nearly Doubled Rate Of China Trade Cases,”Politifact , 4/13/12)
  • “When The Country Has More Trade, You’re Going To Have More Cases. And Trade With China Has Boomed Over The Decade.” (“President Barack Obama Says His Administration Has Nearly Doubled Rate Of China Trade Cases,” Politifact , 4/13/12)
  • “Private Companies Have Been Much More Aggrieved In The Last Few Years Than The First Few Years.” “The economic climate matters. While the government brings cases to the WTO, its staff relies on private companies to come forward with strong evidence of wrongdoing. That requires companies to be motivated to do the legwork. In boom times, there’s less motivation. An economic downturn makes a difference. ‘Private companies have been much more aggrieved in the last few years than the first few years.’” (“President Barack Obama Says His Administration Has Nearly Doubled Rate Of China Trade Cases,” Politifact , 4/13/12)


WHAT OBAMA WILL CLAIM: “When Governor Romney said stopping an unfair surge in Chinese tires would be bad for our workers, we did it anyway — and we got over 1,000 Americans back to work.” (“Excerpts: Obama To Talk Trade Enforcement Against China In Ohio,” CNN, 9/17/12)

  • REALITY: Tire Industry Association: “So Far As Saving American Jobs, It Just Isn’t Working.” “A recent Wall Street Journal article says the increased tariff is falling flat. Imports from China did drop sharply after the tariff took effect in 2009, beginning at a rate of 35 percent. However, Chinese tires were soon replaced by imports from Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and elsewhere. ‘So far as saving American jobs, it just isn’t working,’ the newspaper quoted Roy Littlefield of the Tire Industry Association, which has 6,000 members, as saying. ‘And it really hurt a lot of people in the industry-smaller businesses that geared up to bring these tires in from China.’” (“The State Of America’s Facts,”FactCheck.org, 1/26/12)

OBAMA CLAIM VS. REALITY: Trade Enforcement Unit

WHAT OBAMA WILL CLAIM: “Earlier this year, I set up a new task force to aggressively go after unfair trade practices that harm our workers — and it’s already delivering.” (“Excerpts: Obama To Talk Trade Enforcement Against China In Ohio,” CNN, 9/17/12)

  • REALITY: But The Trade Enforcement Unit Was Created In February 2012, More Than Three Years After The Obama Administration Came To Washington And Only After Criticism From Governor Romney. “President Barack Obama, following through on a promise to beef up enforcement of trade agreements, on Tuesday will sign an executive order creating a new government team to make sure China and others play by the rules, the White House said. The move comes as Obama has faced criticism from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his handling of China and the U.S. trade deficit with the world’s second largest economy has soared to record $295.5 billion in 2011. In addition, two new reports on Tuesday raise concerns about state-supported competition from China and call for the United States to take a variety of steps to respond. Obama outlined his plan to create a new Interagency Trade Enforcement Unit (ITEC) in his annual State of the Union speech last month to Congress.” (Eric Martin, “Obama To Sign Order Creating Trade Enforcement Unit,” Reuters, 2/28/12)

OBAMA CLAIM VS. REALITY: Holding China Accountable For Practices Harming American Automakers

WHAT OBAMA WILL CLAIM: “Two months ago, we moved to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices that harm American automakers.” (“Excerpts: Obama To Talk Trade Enforcement Against China In Ohio,” CNN, 9/17/12)

  • REALITY: Automakers Say “It’s Not An Automotive Business Issue. It’s A Political Issue.” “The automakers, however, were largely silent on the administration’s request for consultations at the World Trade Organization. Coming as it did with Obama on a campaign stop in suburban Toledo, some saw the challenge — one of several taken against China trade policies in recent years — as largely political. ‘It’s not an automotive business issue. It’s a political issue,’ said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive. With the government estimating the duties would impact only about 92,000 vehicles a year, she said, ‘It’s not necessarily something that’s going to cripple the industry.’” (Todd Spangler, “Obama Challenges China On Vehicle Import Tariffs,” Detroit Free Press, 7/6/12)