By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama issued a written statement in response to the President’s announcement in Ohio regarding China’s automobile subsidies.
Sen. Sessions said, “After nearly four years in office, President Obama still refuses to label China a currency manipulator and confront this illicit trading practice. The President’s announcement that his administration is filing a WTO complaint to challenge Chinese auto subsidies will bring little comfort to the thousands who have lost and continue to lose jobs across our entire manufacturing sector thanks to China’s unfair trade practices, which have undercut U.S. competitiveness and helped decrease median household income by 7 percent in the last decade. China’s devalued currency hurts our not only our automakers, but thousands of American businesses and manufacturers, putting millions of our workers at a huge competitive disadvantage.”
Sen. Sessions continued. “Today’s announcement seems like a campaign-driven effort to quell renewed criticism over his continued unwillingness to defend America’s workers from China’s persistent manipulation of its currency and other practices. This action deals with only a small part of a wider problem he has failed to address.”
Sen. Sessions said, “Back last October, Governor Romney was crystal clear on this: ‘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 aren’t going to have a trade war, but we can’t have trade surrender either.’”
Sen. Sessions concluded, “The President’s refusal to act forced the Senate to take up and pass legislation, which I cosponsored, to try to compel the Administration to take action. That bill passed on a bipartisan basis as the President remained on the sidelines. Even Senator Chuck Schumer criticized the President’s inaction, saying a few days before the passage of the Senate bill: ‘I believe this administration should label China a currency manipulator because I think it is clear there continues to be manipulation.’”
Romney Spokeswoman Andrea Saul reportedly said in an email, “Governor Romney believes China should be labeled a currency manipulator – without delaying the report – and he will move to label them as such on Day One.” A Treasury Department report on currency manipulation is due on October 15th in which the administration has to decide whether or not to officially label China a ‘currency manipulator. Many observers expect that the Obama administration will simply delay the report, and that decision until after the November 6th election. While Sen. Sessions and other administration critics fault President Obama for a “soft” China policy, the Obama campaign is running ads claiming that the President is stronger on China than a Romney administration would be. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury Department would not say whether the Obama administration would release the politically sensitive report on time or delay it until after the election.
Critics of the Obama China policy claim that China is artificially holding the Chinese Yuan at an artificially low price in exchange versus the dollar. This effectively makes Chinese goods cheaper than comparable American goods giving Chinese products an advantage here, in China, and in other markets around the globe. Despite this, the Obama administration has declined to publicly chastise the Chinese in any of the last seven Treasury reports, by formally naming China as a currency manipulator.