Romney Promises Crackdown On Trade With China

The bulk of Mitt Romney’s jobs plan (PDF) is conservative boilerplate—regressive tax cuts, deregulation, and union busting. But he does say he wants to do something on the China trade front that I think a lot of progressives will like. He promises the following as one of five executive orders he’ll issue on his first day in office:

Directs the Department of the Treasury to list China as a currency manipulator in its biannual report and directs the Department of Commerce to assess countervailing duties on Chinese imports if China does not quickly move to float its currency.

Later in the document he elaborates:

Current U.S. law requires that the Department of the Treasury release a biannual review in which it identifies any countries that are manipulating their currency to gain an unfair advantage. The Department of Commerce also has the power to find that Chinese currency policy constitutes an unfair subsidy to Chinese exporters, and to assess countervailing duties on Chinese products. The Obama administration has declined to take either action, effectively accepting China’s problematic practices. That acceptance has to end. If China fails to move quickly to bring its currency to fair value, the Department of the Treasury in a Romney administration will designate China a currency manipulator and the Department of Commerce will impose countervailing duties.

He hasn’t written about it for a while, but I believe this is something Paul Krugman has proposed in the past.