Team Obama gives an Ohio paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer a scoop that the president plans to do something serious about China:
The White House Monday will demand through a world trade panel that China stop subsidizing auto parts made for export, arguing the practice undercuts manufacturers in Ohio and elsewhere by reducing the cost of Chinese auto parts and encourages U.S. companies to outsource jobs, senior administration officials said.
While President Barack Obama travels to Columbus and Cincinnati Monday for campaign appearances, his administration also will ask the World Trade Organization, or WTO, to step up a review of what the White House says are unfair duties that China levies on American-made cars. The case is technically separate from the auto parts case but the administration says it presents another example of China’s trade-policy abuse.
It’s a brazen campaign move but it answers the Romney campaign’s accusation that Obama is unwilling to take on China. The message to voters? I will bail out the auto industry and protect these jobs from cheaper automobiles and parts in China.
China isn’t taking this too well, announcing today that the country is filing its own complaint to the WTO about the United States.
Mitt Romney isn’t taking it well either:
“President Obama has spent 43 months failing to confront China’s unfair trade practices,” he said in a statement released moments ago. “Campaign-season trade cases may sound good on the stump, but it is too little, too late for American businesses and middle-class families. President Obama’s credibility on this issue has long since vanished. I will not wait until the last months of my presidency to stand up to China, or do so only when votes are at stake.”