RUBIO: I agree with Mitt Romney that China is a currency manipulator. I believe that a trade war is not the best way to approach it and I think that you label them a currency manipulator that’s what it may result. It will hurt American businesses. But I understand his frustration. We may have to do what governor Romney is saying. We may have to label them a currency manipulator but the ideal way to deal with it because we both have a lot to lose here. China has a lot to lose here too in a trade war. It wouldn’t be good for either one of our economies. So hopefully we can avoid that. It may come to that. But I hope we can avoid that.
A recent CAP report came to the same conclusion as Rubio:
Romney says he will label China a currency manipulator on Day 1 of his administration. But he does not say what he will do on Day 2. Declaring China a manipulator is a symbolically hostile gesture, coming as it would before he will have ever met or spoken to any Chinese leader. And yet what this designation requires is entering into talks with Beijing, made all the more difficult by the declaration itself. [...]
Not only is the approach needlessly antagonistic, it is also ineffective. The last thing China’s leaders will do is invite criticism from their own nationalist base by bowing to a hostile, unilateral American demand — even though a more appropriately valued currency will benefit the Chinese economy over the long run.
Rubio isn’t the first Republican to criticize Romney on China. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who has endorsed Romney for president and previously served as U.S. ambassador to China, called Romney’s China policy “wrongheaded” and “typical” campaign rhetoric.