Today we wake up to another op-ed from Gov. Mitt Romney, this time outlining in the Wall Street Journal how he will approach the case of China. US-China relations are a critical factor for Michigan’s economy. Fair trade, fair currency policy, open markets to export Michigan-made goods, and the protection of Michigan companies from China’s unfair trade practices are all chronic issues that remain to be solved by Washington D.C. and continue hampering Michigan’s economy. Mitt’s article makes clear that he places high priority on solving these problems in order to boost the American and Michigan economies, and he also demonstrates a depth in understanding economic issues that the President and Mitt’s republican challengers fail to possess. Without further adieu, here are some of the key points Gov. Romney made (bolded emphasis is mine):
“Should the 21st century be an American century? To answer, it is only necessary to contemplate the alternatives.
One much bruited these days is that of a Chinese century. With China’s billion-plus population, its 10% annual average growth rates, and its burgeoning military power, a China that comes to dominate Asia and much of the globe is increasingly becoming thinkable. The character of the Chinese government—one that marries aspects of the free market with suppression of political and personal freedom—would become a widespread and disquieting norm.
But the dawn of a Chinese century—and the end of an American one—is not inevitable. America possesses inherent strengths that grant us a competitive advantage over China and the rest of the world. We must, however, restore those strengths.
That means shoring up our fiscal and economic standing, rebuilding our military, and renewing faith in our values. We must apply these strengths in our policy toward China to make its path to regional hegemony far more costly than the alternative path of becoming a responsible partner in the international system.
We must change course.
In the economic arena, we must directly counter abusive Chinese practices in the areas of trade, intellectual property, and currency valuation. While I am prepared to work with Chinese leaders to ensure that our countries both benefit from trade, I will not continue an economic relationship that rewards China’s cheating and penalizes American companies and workers.
Unless China changes its ways, on day one of my presidency I will designate it a currency manipulator and take appropriate counteraction. A trade war with China is the last thing I want, but I cannot tolerate our current trade surrender.
We must also maintain military forces commensurate to the long-term challenge posed by China’s build-up. For more than a decade now we have witnessed double-digit increases in China’s officially reported military spending. And even that does not capture the full extent of its spending on defense…
…I am determined to reverse the Obama administration’s defense cuts and maintain a strong military presence in the Pacific. This is not an invitation to conflict. Instead, this policy is a guarantee that the region remains open for cooperative trade, and that economic opportunity and democratic freedom continue to flourish across East Asia.
A nation that represses its own people cannot ultimately be a trusted partner in an international system based on economic and political freedom. While it is obvious that any lasting democratic reform in China cannot be imposed from the outside, it is equally obvious that the Chinese people currently do not yet enjoy the requisite civil and political rights to turn internal dissent into effective reform.
I will never flinch from ensuring that our country is secure. And security in the Pacific means a world in which our economic and military power is second to none. It also means a world in which American values—the values of liberty and opportunity—continue to prevail over those of oppression and authoritarianism.
The sum total of my approach will ensure that this is an American, not a Chinese century. We have much to gain from close relations with a China that is prosperous and free. But we should not fail to recognize that a China that is a prosperous tyranny will increasingly pose problems for us, for its neighbors, and for the entire world.”