Fact Check: Portman Panics On China

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COLUMBUS, OH -- Senator Rob Portman is panicking about his decades long record of supporting unfair trade policies that have outsourced hundreds of thousands of jobs to places like China -- and just like the ultimate Washington insider that he is Portman isn’t telling the truth about the clear contrast between himself and Ted Strickland when it comes to trade.

Here are the facts:

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

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

  • Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial: 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 False Claim: Strickland Supports Most Favored Nation Status For China.

FACT: The Dispatch Called Portman’s Attack Dishonest: Strickland Consistently Opposed Most Favored Nation Status For China, Portman Always Supported It.

  • Columbus Dispatch Fact Check: Strickland’s Two Votes Present An “Incomplete Picture.” “The suggestion here is that Strickland is being hypocritical because he has frequently criticized Kasich for his votes for the North American Free Trade Agreement (Strickland opposed it) and for "special trade status for China." [...] But as with most arguments based on a handful of thousands of votes cast, it's easy to present an incomplete picture.” [Columbus Dispatch, 8/28/10]

  • 1993: President Clinton Signed An Unprecedented Executive Order That Linked Chinese MFN Status To Improvements In China’s Human Rights And Tough Enforcement Of Fair Trade Practices. [Congressional Research Service, 6/10/98]
  • Chinese Officials: Strickland’s Position Would “Seriously Impair” Relations Between The Two Countries. [Associated Press, 5/29/93]
  • 1994: Strickland Voted Twice Against Most Favored Nation Status In Same Vote Series. [CQ, 8/9/94; H.R. 4590, H.Amdt. 830, Vote 383, 8/9/94; CQ, 8/9/94; H.R. 4590, H.Amdt. 829, Vote 382, 8/9/94]

 

COMPARING PORTMAN AND STRICKLAND VOTES ON CHINA MFN STATUS

Portman False Claim: Strickland Opposed Efforts To Crack Down On China

FACT: Portman Cites Vote That “Has Nothing To Do With China,” It’s Portman Who Failed To Crack Down On Unfair Chinese Trade Practices.

  • Rep. Charlie Rangel: “This Bill Has Nothing To Do With China;” Republican Lawmaker “Did Not Dispute” Rangel’s Statement.  [Washington Times, 7/27/05; Congressional Quarterly Today, 7/26/05]


  • 2000: Strickland Voted Against Granting China Permanent Most Favored Nation Trade Status. Portman Voted For It. [CQ, 5/24/00; H.R. 4444, Vote 228, 5/24/00]

Portman False Claim: Portman Is Fighting To Level The Playing Field With China.

FACT: Portman Is The Best Senator China’s Ever Had.

  • 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]

  • Portman Said Anti-Currency Manipulation Legislation Was “Counter-Productive.” [World Trade Review, 1/15/05]

  • Trade Expert: Portman “Not Particularly Forceful” Against China. “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.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/22/12]

  • AP: 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]

  • PolitiFact: Under Portman Trade Deficit With China Increased By 21 Percent. [PolitiFact, 9/9/10]

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