Romney Pledges to ‘Clamp Down’ on Unfair Trade by China

By Fred Lucas | September 7, 2011 | 10:55 AM EDT

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. ( Starr)

( – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney warned China that if he is in the White House, there will be consequences for unfair trade, as he would “clamp down on the cheaters and China is the worst example.”

Romney affirmed his commitment to expanding free trade, but asserted that China was involved in currency manipulation to keep the cost of their products low. In fact, he said that the United States has not been keeping up with Europe and China in forging ahead with trade deals, which he said would help American exports. He called his expanded free trade plan, the “Reagan economic zone of prosperity.”

“I’m going to say to those nations around the world who want to trade on a fair and free basis that will honor our intellectual property, our patents, our designs, if they will honor those things and float their currency, and not cheat, they can come in this Reagan economic zone of prosperity,” said Romney, a former Massachusetts governor. “By virtue of doing that, we’ll trade in more place and American goods will be seen around the world.”

Romney made his intentions known when laying out a 59-point economic plan that included opening domestic energy production, scaling back regulations, ending the health care overhaul enacted under President Barack Obama. He delivered his remarks at McCandles International Trucking in North Las Vegas, Nev.

“One more thing I’ll do, and that is I’ll clamp down on the cheaters and China is the worst example of that,” Romney said to applause. “They’ve manipulated their currency to make their products artificially inexpensive. It has hollowed out many of our manufacturing facilities in this country. That’s unacceptable.”

“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,” Romney continued. “We’re not going to have a trade war. But we’re not going to have a trade surrender either. We have to make sure that we protect Americans, that we have fair trade with nations that are willing to live by the rules. And we’re going to insist on that with all of our friends.”