'China bashing' tactic in US election decried
Updated: 2012-09-20 06:55
WASHINGTON - The "China bashing" tactic being employed by two U.S. presidential campaigns came under criticism on Wednesday as a major U.S. newspaper warned about the risks of sparking a trade war that will hurt both countries' interest.
In an editorial, The Washington Post decried the "iron law of U.S. politics: You can't go wrong bashing China," as polls show that the U.S. public believes the country is losing jobs due to "unfair economic competition from abroad, especially from China."
President Barack Obama on Monday announced a new trade case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China for subsidizing the production of auto parts. The move, called by the Post as "a transparently political use of his incumbency," was mainly aimed at wooing votes from the struggling U.S. manufacturing industry based in some crucial swing states, such as Ohio.
The Obama move was also in response to the criticism from his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, whose campaign has been recently broadcasting a TV ad to accuse Obama of failing to stop " China cheating," referring to Obama's reluctance to name China's as currency manipulator. Romney has vowed to do so on the first day of office if he is elected.
In the opinion piece, the Post noted that the Obama administration has already yielded some modest success over the past three years in terms of pressuring China to raise the Chinese yuan's currency exchange rate against the dollar, during which the yuan has appreciated remarkably. Some experts believe that the value of the yuan is close to the market-determined level.
The article went further to point out that, in fact, the growth of imports of auto parts from China or Mexico may have helped created more American jobs than they cost.
Noting that China's retaliation against the U.S. trade punishments could cost more American jobs, the article warned U.S. politicians against playing protectionism for political gains, as it will backfires.
"Protectionist measures may 'save' jobs for higher-paid workers at the expense of those who make less. These are the sorts of nuances and trade-offs to which we hope the winner of this election will pay more attention. Though the United States and China are competing for global market share, avoiding an actual trade war is very much in both nations' interest," it said.