Boca Raton (Florida): The US is working with other countries in the Asia Pacific region to meet the challenges being posed by a rising China, President Barack Obama on Monday said as he clashed with his Republican challenger Mitt Romney on America`s policy towards the Communist giant.
While Obama argued that his administration has taken strong action against alleged illegal trade practices of China and has been trying to work together with it on a host of issues, Romney accused the Obama Administration of not doing enough and vowed to declare China a "currency manipulator" on day one of his presidency.
"We believe China can be a partner, but we`re also sending a very clear signal that America is a Pacific power, that we are going to have a presence there. We are working with countries in the region to make sure, for example, that ships can pass through, that commerce continues," Obama said during the third and final presidential debate in Florida.
"We are organizing trade relations with countries other than China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards. That`s the kind of leadership we`ve shown in the region. That`s the kind of leadership that we`ll continue to show," he said.
China, he said, is both an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community if it`s following the rules. "So my attitude coming into office was that we are going to insist that China plays by the same rules as everybody else," he said.
Romney said China has an interest that`s very much like the US in one respect, and that is they want a stable world.
"They don`t want war. They don`t want to see protectionism. They don`t want to see the world break out into various forms of chaos, because they have to manufacture goods and put people to work. And they have about 20 million, rather, people coming out of the farms every year, coming into the cities, needing jobs. So they want the economy to work and the world to be free and open," he said.
"We don`t have to be an adversary in any way, shape or form. We can work with them. We can collaborate with them if they`re willing to be responsible," he added.
Accusing China of devaluing its currency, which puts American manufacturers at disadvantages, Romney reiterated to declare Beijing a currency manipulator.
"I`ve watched year in and year out as companies have shut down and people have lost their jobs because China has not played by the same rules, in part by holding down artificially the value of their currency. It holds down the prices of their goods.
It means our goods aren`t as competitive and we lose jobs. That`s got to end," he said.
"They`re making some progress; they need to make more.
That`s why on day one I will label them a currency manipulator which allows us to apply tariffs where they`re taking jobs. They`re stealing our intellectual property, our patents, our designs, our technology, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods. They have to understand, we want to trade with them, we want a world that`s stable, we like free enterprise, but you got to play by the rules," Romney said.
The Republican presidential challenger said that there is a trade war is going on with China.
"This can`t go on. I want a great relationship with China. China can be our partner. But that doesn`t mean they can just roll all over us and steal our jobs on an unfair basis," Romney said.
Obama said under his administration the exports with China have doubled.
"Actually, currencies are at their most advantageous point for US exporters since 1993. We absolutely have to make more progress, and that`s why we`re going to keep on pressing," he said.