China is one of the few issues that Romney appears to feel very strongly about. His comments concerning the communist nation have been intensifying over the last year, and he advocates an increasingly hardline approach in handling China.
“Well, China has an interest in trade. China wants to, as they have 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 wanna 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, have that same-- power over China. We-- 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 from corporations. They can't take patents and designs, intellectual property, and, and, and, and duplicate them, and duplicate them and counterfeit them and sell them around the world. 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. And they should in every way want to collaborate with us and not become a belligerent nation economically or militarily. But if you just continue to sit back and let them run over us, the policies of Barack Obama in China have allowed China to continue to expand their, their, entry into our computer systems, their entry… and, stealing our intellectual property…
And of course, their, their military capacity…
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., the W.T.O. 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 us. 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 gonna stand up to China.”
November 12, 2011: CBS News/ National Journal's GOP Debate, Spartanburg, South Carolina
“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. We are going to have a trade war, but we can't have a trade surrender either…
I'm afraid that people who have looked at this in the past 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 am not willing to let that happen.
I'm in this race to try to get America to make sure we're strong again and we're creating jobs where the best place in the world to be middle class again. And for that to happen, we have to call cheating for what it is.
And people say, we might have a trade war with China. Well, now, think about that.
We by this much stuff from China, they buy that much stuff from us. You think they want to have a trade war?
I mean, this is a time when we are being hollowed out by China, that is artificially holding down their prices, as you just said a moment ago, and that's having a massive impact on jobs here. It is the wrong course for us.
When people have pursued unfair trade practices, you have to have a president that will take action. And on day one, I have indicated, day one, I will issue an executive order identifying China as a currency manipulator. We'll bring an action against them in front of the WTO for manipulating their currency, and we will go after them. If you are not willing to stand up to China, you will get run over by China, and that's what's happened”
October 11th, 2011: Bloomberg/ Washington Post Republican Presidential Debate, Hanover, New Hampshire
“You know what, I think it’s important first for the American people to understand that China is not like the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, Kruschev in particular, wanted to bury us. China doesn’t want to bury us. They want to see us succeed and thrive so we can buy more Chinese products. And they’re our competitor economically. More power to them. We know how to compete. We want to make sure the competition is fair and legal and they protect our intellectual property rights and they have a monetary policy that’s fair. So we’ve got some challenges to make sure that the playing field is level with China.
But we can compete, we can be successful with China and reach out to them. I’ve already met with their leadership and will do so again, if I’m lucky enough to be president. Making China a partner for stability in the world will be one of my highest priority. China is really key in many respects as they become a very large economy. Their GNP is going to surpass ours just given the scale of the nation’s population.
We have to recognize they are going to be an economic powerhouse. And with that reality, we’re going to make sure that we’re friendly, that we understand each other, that we’re open in communicating and we’re collaborating on important topics like keeping North Korea from pursuing the nuclear armament which they’ve begun, getting Iran to avoid, or to abandon their nuclear ambitions. China and we together will have a great deal of positive influence for stability if we’re able to work that relationship properly.”
June 21, 2007: Romney speaking to the Pittsburgh Tribune
Mitt Romney: That is normally a good thing. But China is playing by different rules. One, they are stealing intellectual property. Number two, they're hacking into our computer systems, both government and corporate. And they are stealing, by virtue of that as well, from us. And finally, they are manipulating their currency, and by doing so, holding down the price of Chinese goods, and making sure their products are artificially low-priced. It's predatory pricing, it's killing jobs in America. If I'm president of the United States, I'm making it very clear, I love free trade. I want to open markets to free trade. But I will crack down on cheaters like China. They simply cannot continue to steal our jobs…
Maria Bartiromo: How would you crack down on China?
Romney: Well, number one, I would do something this president should have done a long time ago, which is to label China a currency manipulator. And then I would bring in action at the WTO level, charging them with being a currency manipulator. Number three, where they have stolen intellectual property, where they have hacked into computers, and where their artificial pricing is causing their goods to have predatory levels of pricing, I would apply, if necessary, tariffs to make sure that they understand we are willing to play at a level playing field.
We want, we have to have free trade. That's essential for the functioning of a strong economy. But we cannot allow one nation to continue to flaunt the rules and kill our jobs by allowing them continue as they have.
November 9, 2011: CNBC "Your Money, Your Vote” Republican Presidential Debate, Oakland University, Rochester
“I want to make sure that when people cheat, when they don’t follow the rules in trade, we finally hold them accountable.
You know the president, the president has an opportunity, had an opportunity, was required as of last Friday to officially designate whether China is a currency manipulator... And yet over the past several years, the President’s failed to call China a currency manipulator... He had the occasion on Friday to come out with that official designation. Do you know what they said? We’re not going to make any determination until after the election... Let me tell you, on day one of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator. We’ve got to get those jobs back and get trade to be fair,”
October 13, 2012: Romney speaking at a campaign event at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio