With only two short weeks left before election day, President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney aggressively went after every other’s foreign policies within their final debate Monday, including — of particular note to entrepreneurs — their economic positions on China.
The United States’ relationship with China is a crucial one for entrepreneurs, as much depend on the country’s cheap manufacturing to create their own final products. Yet for most other companies, China – using its devalued currency and lax rules regarding intellectual property — remains a competitive threat.
Obama called China "both an adversary but also a potential mate in the international community whether it’s following rules" and vowed that he’d insist the country "plays by the same rules as everybody else" if re-elected.
Romney took a tougher stance, saying he’d declare China "a currency manipulator" on day one of is own presidency. " You can’t continue holding down the worthiness of your currency, stealing our intellectual property, counterfeiting our products, selling them all over the world, even into the USA," said Romney, who also indicated that China is winning a "trade war" with the U.S. due to trade deficit between your U.S. and China.
In Contentious Debate, Obama and Romney Spar Over Small-Business Jobs
The ultimate presidential debate, held in the battleground state of Florida at Lynn University in Boca Raton, touched on entrepreneurship but centered primarily on U.S. relations with Iran, Israel and Pakistan. In line with the most polls, Obama edged out Romney for a "win" Monday night, though who wins a debate is a comparatively subjective declaration.
The discussion on China came late in the 90-minute debate. Obama defended his record, saying he previously set up an activity force to "follow cheaters" and noted that his administration has taken more cases against China for breaking trade agreements compared to the previous administration in eight years.
The president also said U.S. exports to China have doubled since he took office. "Currencies are in their most advantageous point for U.S. exporters since 1993," he said. "We absolutely need to make more progress, and that’s why we’re likely to continue pressing."
Romney agreed that the U.S. "could be a partner with China," as long as "they’re ready to be responsible." He also touched on what he considers untapped trade opportunities which exist with Latin America. "Latin America’s economy is nearly as large as the economy of China," he said, noting that businesses may have a less strenuous time dealing with Latin America as a result of less-drastic time change and usage of Spanish.
Furthermore to discussing trade relations, Romney and Obama briefly revisited a small number of other small-business campaign issues, like the fate of "Obamacare," how smaller businesses ought to be taxed, and what takes its "small company."
With all debates in the rearview mirror, any kind of issues critical to smaller businesses and entrepreneurs that you didn’t hear discussed? Leave a comment below and tell us.