FACT CHECK: PORTMAN IS THE BEST SENATOR CHINA’S EVER HAD

Just like the ultimate Washington insider that he is, Senator Portman isn’t telling the truth about his record on trade. The truth is that Senator Rob Portman has been called a “dedicated outsourcer” for his unabashed record of championing unfair, job killing trade deals that have shipped hundreds of thousands of Ohio jobs overseas to places like China.

From David Bergstein, Strickland Campaign Spokesman: “This ad is a wonderful demonstration of the twisted Beltway fantasy land that Senator Portman lives in and the panic he's feeling after kowtowing to China for decades. Portman has been labeled a ‘dedicated outsourcer’ for his unabashed and chronic support for unfair trade deals and policies that have shipped hundreds of thousands of Ohio jobs to places like China. If Portman wants to spend the next 7 months discussing trade we are happy to do so -- because the truth is that Portman is the best Senator China’s ever had.”

KEY POINTS:

AS U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE, PORTMAN REFUSED TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST CHINA’S CHEATING

ON ALL THE KEY ISSUES, STRICKLAND FOUGHT CHINA’S CHEATING, PORTMAN HAS ENABLED IT

PORTMAN IS STRUGGLING TO MISLEAD ON HIS PRO-CHINA RECORD

  • Portman points to two votes in 2005 to argue that Strickland hasn’t been tough on China—but even Republicans didn't dispute those votes had “nothing to do with China.”

  • Portman points to Governor Strickland opening a trade office in China designed to increase Ohio’s exports TO China.

  • Portman points to a state loan that had nothing to do with China. It was a loan that contractually obligated the recipient to expand operations in Toledo, not overseas. 

AD CLAIMS

THE FACTS

NARRATOR: “Ted Strickland talks tough on China.”

 

VISUAL: TED STRICKLAND TALKS TOUGH ON CHINA

 

NARRATOR: “The truth?”

 

VISUAL: THE TRUTH?

 

NARRATOR: “Rob Portman is fighting against China, standing up to his own party to stop China’s currency manipulation.”

 

VISUAL: “PORTMAN HAS FOUGHT FOR YEARS TO CURB CURRENCY MANIPULATION” CINCINNATI.COM, 2/4/16

 

NARRATOR: “Protecting Ohio jobs when China cheats.”

 

VISUAL: “PORTMAN FIGHTS FOR A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD ON TRADE” WTUZ RADIO, 2015

AS U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE, PORTMAN REFUSED TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST CHINESE CURRENCY MANIPULATION…

 May 2005: Portman Claimed That Leveling A Tariff On China If It Did Not Meet A Deadline To Relax Its Currency Was “Counter-Productive.” “US Trade Representative Rob Portman rejected Friday moves in Congress to slap a deadline on China to relax its currency or face punitive US tariffs. But he said it was essential that China do more to welcome US goods and to protect intellectual property rights. ‘We think that legislation would be counter-productive,’ he told the CNBC network. At least a dozen senators from both the Republic and Democratic parties in February proposed a law that would slap a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese imports if Beijing does not scrap the yuan-dollar peg within six months.” [Agence France Presse via World Trade Review,5/13/05]

… FILED FEWER TRADE ENFORCEMENT CASES THAN HIS SUCCESSOR AGAINST CHINA

Portman Filed Only Four Enforcement Cases As Bush‘s Trade Representative, A “Significant” Decline From The Number Filed During The Clinton Administration. [Youngstown Vindicator, 9/21/10]

Portman Filed Only One Trade Enforcement Case Against China, His Successor Filed Five Separate Cases Against China. [World Trade Organization Chronological List of Dispute Cases, Accessed11/18/15]

Daniel Ikenson, A Trade Policy Expert At The Libertarian Cato Institute, Said That Rob Portman’s Record As US Trade Representative Was Not Particularly Forceful On China And Others. “Daniel Ikenson, a trade policy expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, said [Rob] Portman’s record was not particularly forceful on the China trade front or others. ‘He started a process that has been picking up speed pretty much ever since,’ Ikenson said of the U.S.’s trade rapport with China, noting that the Obama administration has devoted more resources to trade enforcement cases.” [Cincinnati Enquirer,6/22/12] 

Associated Press: Portman “Didn't Fare Particularly Well In Stemming China's Trade Advantage” As The U.S. Trade Representative. “He didn't fare particularly well in stemming China's trade advantage, either. Under Portman's watch, the U.S. trade deficit with China soared by 25 percent in 2005, and the next year it climbed more than 15 percent.”[Associated Press, 8/30/12]

… AND UNDER PORTMAN’S TENURE, THE UNITED STATES’ TRADE DEFICIT WITH CHINA SOARED 

PolitiFact: Trade Deficit With China Went Up $228 Billion Under Portman, A 21 Percent Increase. “To analyze the claim about the trade deficit, we turned to the Census Bureau, which tracks foreign trade statistics on a month-by-month and year-by-year basis. We looked at the time that Portman served as U.S. trade representative, which was from April 29, 2005, to May 26, 2006. We found that the trade deficit went up by almost $228 billion over that 13-month period. For comparison's sake, we looked at the 13 months prior to Portman taking the job. We found that the trade deficit with China rose by about $189 million during that period. Comparing those two numbers, the cumulative trade deficit under Portman was about 21 percent higher than it was for the equivalent time period just before he took office.” [PolitiFact,9/9/10] 

WHICH IS WHY PORTMAN IS KNOWN AS A “FREE TRADE DISCIPLE,” “DEDICATED OUTSOURCER,” AND THE “ULTIMATE” WASHINGTON INSIDER 

U.S. Business And Industry Council Official Called Portman A “Dedicated Outsourcer.” [CQ Today, 3/17/05] 

Youngstown Vindicator: Portman Refused To Even Read the TPP Before Voting For Fast Track Authority. “U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a former U.S. trade representative, refuses to review a draft of what would be the country’s largest trade agreement in history if approved.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 8/3/15] 

Columbus Dispatch: Portman “Has Never Met A Free Trade Agreement He Didn’t Like.” [Columbus Dispatch, 7/11/10] 

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Portman Is A “Free Trade Disciple.” [Plain Dealer, Editorial, 3/18/05] 

Cincinnati Enquirer: Portman Has “Been A Consistent Champion Of Free Trade” Despite The Fact That Ohio “Has Seen Thousands Of Jobs Move Overseas.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/18/05]

AP: Portman “Has Been A Strong Advocate Of Free Trade Even Though He Comes From A State That Has Been Hit Hard By Job Losses.” [Associated Press, 3/17/05]

Portman Voted For Eight Unfair Free Trade Deals In Congress. [H.R. 3078, Vote 163, 10/12/11; H.R. 3079, Vote 162, 10/12/11; H.R. 3080, Vote 161, 10/12/11; H.R. 4842, Vote 413, 7/22/04; H.R. 4759, Vote 375, 7/14/04; H.R. 2738, Vote 436, 7/24/03; H.R. 2739, Vote 432, 7/24/03; H.R. 3450, Vote 575, 11/17/93]

USA TODAY: Portman Is The “Ultimate Insider.” [USA Today, 11/4/10] 

National Journal: “Portman Is The Ultimate Insider” [National Journal, 5/12/12]

Washington Post: Portman Has A “Longtime Status As A Washington Insider.” [Washington Post, 7/16/12]

NARRATOR: “And Ted Strickland?”

 

VISUAL: TED STRICKLAND?

ON EVERY KEY ISSUE, STRICKLAND HAS FOUGHT CHINA’S CHEATING, PORTMAN HAS ENABLED IT

PERMANENT MOST FAVORED NATION STATUS COST OHIO OVER 100,000 JOBS. PORTMAN VOTED YES, STRICKLAND VOTED NO. 

2000: Strickland Voted Against Granting China Permanent Most Favored Nation Trade Status. Portman Voted For It. In May 2000, Strickland voted against but Portman voted for: “Passage of the bill that would make normal trade relations with the People's Republic of China permanent. The bill contains a measure that would protect U.S. businesses and workers from Chinese import surges. The bill includes a provision that would establish a commission to monitor human rights, labor standards and religious freedom in China. The administration would have to report annually on China's compliance with trade agreements and express the sense of Congress that Taiwan should be admitted to the World Trade Organization. The measure would authorize $99 million for Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America to expand broadcasts to China and neighboring countries.” The bill passed, 237-197. [CQ,5/24/00; H.R. 4444, Vote 228,5/24/00]

Ohio Lost 106,400 Jobs To China After Passage Of Permanent Most Favored Nation Trade Status. “Since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, the massive growth of trade between China and the United States has had a dramatic and negative effect on U.S. workers and the domestic economy. […] The 3.2 million U.S. jobs lost or displaced by the goods trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013 were distributed among all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with the biggest net losses occurring in California (564,200 jobs), Texas (304,700), New York (179,200), Illinois (132,500), Pennsylvania (122,600), North Carolina (119,600), Florida (115,700), Ohio (106,400), Massachusetts (97,200), and Georgia (93,700). […] China’s admission to the WTO was endorsed by the United States in domestic legislation that offered China permanent normal trade relations status.” [Economic Policy Institute,12/11/14] 

CHINA FLOODED THE U.S. WITH STEEL PIPE, HURTING OHIO STEEL JOBS. PORTMAN URGED AGAINST PROVIDING RELIEF, STRICKLAND FOUGHT FOR IT.

2005: International Trade Commission Recommended That The U.S. Impose Tariff-Rate Quota On Steel Pipe Imports From China. [U.S. International Trade Commission, Press Release,10/11/05] 

Politico: As U.S. Trade Representative, “Portman Urged The President Not To Impose Restrictions On Cheap Chinese Steel Imports, Causing A Drop In Sales And Job Losses For The U.S. Steel Industry.” “As Bush's top trade negotiator in 2005, Portman urged the president not to impose restrictions on cheap Chinese steel imports, causing a drop in sales and job losses for the U.S. steel industry. And that could resonate with voters at a time they're worried about the economic threat from China and American jobs being shipped overseas.” [Politico, 7/24/12] 

Wheatland Tube Co. Laid Off “Several Dozen” Workers In Ohio And Pennsylvania Because Of Surging Steel Pipe Imports From China. “Several dozen workers at Wheatland Tube Co. have been told they would be laid off effective Monday, including a few in Ohio.  Vice President Bill Kerins said Thursday that 45 hourly workers from the plant in Wheatland and 10 from the Sharon plant will be laid off, along with about 30 salaried employees. He blamed the layoffs on surging pipe imports, especially from China.  The salaried employees were let go permanently, while the hourly workers might be recalled if business improves, he said. With the exception of a few jobs in Warren, Ohio, all the white collar workers laid off were from Sharon and Wheatland.  The hourly employees laid off represent about 10 percent of Wheatland Tube's work force; the salaried employees let go made up about 20 percent, he said.” [Associated Press,2/25/07]

Strickland Wrote Letter To The International Trade Commission, Calling On Them To Take Action Against On Flood Of Cheap Chinese Steel Pipe. “Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio (6th CD), issued the following press release: Rep. Ted Strickland today sent a letter to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) asking that the commission take action to help American manufacturers of circular welded non-alloy steel pipe (‘standard pipe’) which has been under siege these past few years because of a torrent of Chinese imports. ‘This is just one more example of how we are allowing our domestic producers to drown in a flood of cheap, subsidized foreign imports,’ said Strickland. ‘But injury to one segment of our economy affects suppliers in all segments of our economy. By flooding the standard pipe market, steel producers like Wheeling-Pitt suffer the consequences as well.’” [US Fed News, 9/22/05]

NARRATOR: “In Congress, Strickland refused to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices.”

 

VISUAL: TED STRICKLAND OPPOSED ENFORCEMENT OF CHINESE TRADE DEALS ROLL CALL VOTE 421, 7/26/05; ROLL CALL VOTE 437, 7/27/05

REPUBLICANS AGREE: THESE VOTES HAD “NOTHING TO DO WITH CHINA” 

Democrats At The Time Called The Votes “Toothless” Measures To Give Republicans “A Chance To Support A Get-Tough Policy On Trade Before Voting To Open More Markets.” “Shortly before taking up CAFTA, the House voted 255 to 168 to establish a new monitoring system designed to ensure China's compliance with US trade regulations. The measure is opposed by the Bush administration and some business groups, which argue that it sends the wrong message to a burgeoning economic powerhouse with whom the United States is seeking to build a better relationship. Democrats accused Republicans of pursuing a toothless bill on China to win votes for CAFTA by giving on-the-fence House members a chance to support a get-tough policy on trade before voting to open more markets. Senate minority leader Harry Reid said the China measure will not pass the Senate.” [Boston Globe, 7/28/05]

Rep. Charlie Rangel: “This Bill Has Nothing To Do With China.” “House Democrats yesterday derailed a bill that would allow U.S. companies to seek sanctions if they can show China is subsidizing its exports. The bill fell victim to a debate about the Central American Free Trade Agreement, as well as Democratic insistence that it would be ineffective. ‘This bill has nothing to do with China, it has everything to do with getting votes for CAFTA,’ said Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat. The vote was 240-186 in favor, 40 votes short of the two-thirds majority necessary to consider the bill under special procedures that limit debate. Only 19 Democrats voted yes for the United States Trade Rights Enforcement Act. Five Republicans voted no.” [Washington Times, 7/27/05] 

CQ Today: A Republican Lawmaker “Did Not Dispute” Rangel’s Statement. “House Democratic leaders urged their members to oppose the measure on the suspension calendar, protesting hasty consideration of a bill they view as inadequate to address the many concerns lawmakers have with China's conduct of trade. ‘This is another effort to elicit folks to support CAFTA,’ Charles B. Rangel of New York, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, said on the floor. ‘This bill has nothing to do with China. It has everything to do with getting votes for CAFTA.’ Mark Souder, R-Ind., did not dispute that statement. ‘Let me be real blunt,’ he said. ‘It was for me.’” [Congressional Quarterly Today, 7/26/05]

NARRATOR: “As governor, Strickland opened a trade office in China.”

 

VISUAL: TED STRICKLAND

OPENED CHINA TRADE OFFICE

THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/7/08

Strickland Opened Trade Office In China To Expand Ohio’s Exports Overseas, Had Nothing To Do With Outsourcing. “Ohio is going for the gold, opening a global trade office in Beijing - just in time for the summer Olympic Games. The prize for the state Department of Development isn't medals, but, officials hope, profits for local companies expanding exports to China, particularly in Ohio's struggling manufacturing sector. The Beijing office is expected to open later this month, the third new international office the Strickland administration has opened this year, bringing the state's total to 14. That ranks Ohio second to Pennsylvania, which has 16 overseas offices, according to Ohio officials.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/7/08]

 

NARRATOR: “Then gave a $4 million loan to a company with a Chinese factory.”

 

VISUAL: $4 MILLION TAXPAYER LOAN TO COMPANY WITH CHINESE FACTORY THE TOLEDO BLADE, 11/18/10

 

NARRATOR: “Retread Ted: weak on China, wrong on jobs.”

 

VISUAL: RETREAD TED

WEAK ON CHINA

WRONG ON JOBS

 

VISUAL: PAID FOR BY PORTMAN FOR SENATE CAMPAIGN

Loan Had Nothing To Do With China: Contract Required State Funding To Be “Used Only For Local Operations.” “One of the Third Frontier grants is intended to help Xunlight ramp up its local assembly operations. Mark Shanahan, energy adviser to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, said state officials were aware of Xunlight's Chinese plant and are confident that state funding has been used only for local operations. ‘Our concern is always to make sure that any public dollars from Ohio are being invested in and creating jobs in Ohio,’ Mr. Shanahan said. ‘We have clauses in all our agreements with Xunlight that require them to invest all of our funding in the Toledo facility.’” [Toledo Blade, 11/18/10]


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