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October 13, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Romney's Microsoft talk: Obama 'asleep at the wheel' on trade

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is talking tough on trade policy in advance of his visit to Microsoft today.

During the speech this afternoon, Romney will “call for a renewed American commitment” to opening global markets for U.S. producers, according to the Romney campaign.

In a release sketching out his plans, Romney criticized President Obama “for falling asleep at the wheel on this crucial issue for the American economy,” saying the president had failed to initiate any new trade agreements during his term, “while stalling those already under way when he took office.”

“Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers are beyond our borders,” said Romney in the news release. “While we sit on the sidelines, the EU is making deals. China is making deals. And American competitiveness suffers.”

Romney’s blast comes just as Congress approved three new trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Columbia — that are expected to benefit trade-dependent Washington state.

But Romney is arguing that Obama has done too little, especially when it comes to combating counterfeiting in China.

His campaign put up a video that claims Obama “is currently doing nothing” to address the issue.

The Democratic National Committee swiftly countered that claim, pointing to statements and other actions Obama has made to challenge China to enforce intellectual property rights.

Romney’s campaign previewed the trade proposal he’ll presumably discuss in more detail at Microsoft.

His plan includes: acting more quickly on trade agreements; creating a “Reagan Economic Zone” of free-trade agreements with like-minded nations; cracking down on imports that violate trade rules; and confronting China on currency manipulation and its industrial subsidies.

The Romney campaign also announced two local endorsements this morning: from Secretary of State Sam Reed and former Spokane Congressman George Nethercutt.

Comments | More in Government | Topics: Mitt Romney, presidential election, Republican primary

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