Romney: 'I Cannot Accept Our Current Trade Surrender' to China

Presidential hopeful takes swipes at Obama, China in speech unveiling his economic plan.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney unveiled his economic plan Tuesday, vowing to lower taxes, cut red tape, scrap the Obama health plan and end trade "surrender" to countries like China.

The former frontrunner in his party, Romney said President Obama "has had his turn at fixing the American economy" and has failed, as he laid out a 59-point plan focused on creating jobs in the ailing U.S. economy.

"America should be a job machine, jobs being created all the time, people looking for employees to join their enterprises," he told an audience in north Las Vegas, two days before Obama unveils his own jobs plan.

"We also ought to see the world buying the things we make. We should be proud of the fact that they buy as much from us if not more than we buy from them," he added.

Presenting himself as a successful businessman, Romney said he has "59 specific proposals -- including 10 concrete actions" he would undertake on his first day in office to turn around the economy.

"Each proposal is rooted in the conservative premise that government itself cannot create jobs. At best government can provide a framework in which economic growth can occur," he wrote in USA Today before his speech.

"All too often, however, government gets in the way. The past three years of unparalleled government expansion have retaught that lesson all too well."

Overhaul of Tax System Needed

Romney, who had been the early frontrunner but now trails Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry in presidential polls, said that taxes on income, saving and investment "must be kept low" and that "taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for middle-income taxpayers should be eliminated."

He said the U.S. corporate tax rate "is among the world's highest" and leaves U.S. firms "at a competitive disadvantage and induces them to park their profits abroad, benefiting the rest of the world at our expense."

"Ultimately, I will press for a total overhaul of our overly complex and inefficient system of taxation," the former Massachusetts governor said.

Romney said Obama "has vastly expanded the regulatory reach of government," and that he would reverse this "including eliminating 'ObamaCare,'" the vast overhaul of health care aimed at covering most people without insurance.

'Reagan Economic Zone'

On trade, Romney called for a "Reagan Economic Zone," which he described as a "partnership among countries committed to free enterprise and free trade."

But he said Washington must confront "nations like China that violate trade rules while free-riding on the international system."

"I will not stand by while China pursues an economic development policy that relies on the unfair treatment of U.S. companies and the theft of their intellectual property," he said.

"I have no interest in starting a trade war with China, but I cannot accept our current trade surrender."

Romney said his energy policy would "utilize to the fullest extent our nation's nuclear know-how and immense reserves in oil, gas and coal" while streamlining regulation.

"We are an energy-rich country that, thanks to environmental extremism, has chosen to live like an energy-poor country. That has to end," he said.

Romney also said he would "restore fiscal discipline by cutting the federal budget and placing an ironclad cap on spending," cutting the federal workforce and pressing for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011


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