Mitt Romney appeared in Ohio yesterday, where he hosted a roundtable discussion about the economy and manufacturing policies. In an unfortunate move, Romney’s guests were exclusively owners, presidents, or corporate treasurers of Ohio companies – rank-and-file workers and middle managers weren’t invited.
But that wasn’t the only problem. Romney’s discussion, which featured lengthy criticisms of the Obama administration failing to get “tough” with China, was held at the American Spring Wire’s headquarters in Bedford Heights, Ohio. The location has a larger significance.
The same company, along with two steel wire companies from North Carolina and Tennessee, petitioned the government on May 27, 2009 to look into a trade issue, arguing that Chinese firms were selling steel wire products in the U.S. at less than normal value. On June 17, 2009, the Department of Commerce announced a decision to start investigating the problem.
A year later, the International Trade Administration, a division within the Commerce Department, announced it was ordering an “antidumping” duty on “prestressed concrete steel wire” strands from China. It also announced a countervailing duty, aimed to counter subsidized products coming from other countries.
As part of the order, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were instructed to suspend liquidation on the merchandise from China and “require cash deposits equal to the estimated amount by which the normal value exceeds the U.S. price,” according to a Commerce statement issuing the order at the time.
So let me get this straight. Romney spoke at the American Spring Wire’s headquarters in Ohio to condemn Obama’s trade policies towards China, and the American Spring Wire’s headquarters benefited from Obama’s trade policies towards China. Making matters worse, when Obama took these efforts, Romney criticized them as too tough on China.
Did the Romney campaign just not think this through?
Indeed, let’s add this to the list of instances in which Romney’s advance team failed to do its homework. Remember all the businesses Romney appeared as part of the “we built this” campaign that thrived thanks to government support?