In November 2011, Romney elaborated on some of those positions in a CBS News debate. “[China] can’t hack into our computer systems and steal from our government,” Romney said. “They can’t steal from corporations. They can’t take patents and designs, intellectual property and duplicate them — duplicate them and counterfeit them and sell them around the world. And they also can’t manipulate their currency in such a way as to make their prices well below what they otherwise would be. We have to have China understand that, like everybody else on the world stage, they have to play by the rules.”
That all sounds fine, moderator Scott Pelley said. But how would Romney actually make China behave?
“Well, number one, on day one, is acknowledging something which everyone knows, they’re a currency manipulator,” Romney answered. “And on that basis, we also go before the WTO and bring an action against them as a currency manipulator. And that allows us to apply selectively tariffs where we believe they are stealing our intellectual property, hacking into our computers or artificially lowering their prices and killing American jobs. We can’t just sit back and let China run all over us. People say, well, you’ll start a trade war. There’s one going on right now, folks. They’re stealing our jobs and we’re going to stand up to China.”