Obama to Romney: 'You Invest In Companies That Ship Jobs Overseas'

Things get heated as the candidates debate trade with China.
3:00 | 10/22/12

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Transcript for Obama to Romney: 'You Invest In Companies That Ship Jobs Overseas'
The rise of China. And future challenges for America. -- when it just began this by asking both of view and Mr. President you you go first this time. What do you believe it's the greatest future threat. To the national security of this country. Well I think it will continue to -- Terrorist networks. We have to remain vigilant as I just said. -- with respect to China China is both an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community. If it's following. The roles. So -- attitude coming into office was that we are gonna insist that China. Plays by the same rules as everybody else I don't Americans have had seen. Jobs being shipped overseas. Businesses and workers not getting -- level playing field when it came to trade. And that's the reason why I set up a trade task force to go after cheaters when it came to international trade. That's the reason why we have brought more cases. Against China for violating trade rules then the other the previous administration had done. In two tarps. We've won just about every case that we filed. That that has been decided in fact just recently steelworkers and Ohio. And throughout the midwest Pennsylvania are in a position now to sell steel to China because we won that case. We had a tire case and which they were flooding us with cheap domestic tires. Our order sheet Chinese tires and -- put a stop to as consequence save jobs. Throughout America. I have to say that governor -- criticized me for being too tough. In that tire case said this wouldn't be good for American workers and that would be protectionist. But I tell you those workers don't feel that way. They feel as if they had finally an administration was gonna take this issue serious. Over the long term in order for us to compete with China. We've also got to make sure though that were taking those taking care business here at home. If we don't have the best education system in the world if we don't continue to put money into research and technology. That will allow us to to create great businesses here in the United States that's how we lose the competition and unfortunately governor Romney's budget. And his proposals would not allow us to make those investments -- governor. Well first -- not government that makes business successful it's that government investments that make businesses grow and hire people. Let me also note that the greatest -- that the world faces the greatest national security threat is a nuclear Iran. Let's talk about China. China has an interest that's very much like ours. In one respect and that is they want a stable world they don't want war. They don't want to see protectionism. They don't wanna see the the world break out and into various forms of chaos because they have to. They have to manufacture goods and put people who -- to them about 20000 -- million other people coming out of the farms every year coming into the city's needing jobs. So they want the economy to work in the world to be free and open. And so we can be a partner with China. We don't have to be an adversary in any way shape or form we can work with that we can collaborate with them if they're willing to be responsible. Now they look at us and say. It -- a good idea to be with America. How how strong are we going to be how strong -- our economy they look at the fact that we Obama trillion dollars and no other people sixteen trillion in total including. They they look at our our decision that. To cut back on our military capabilities. A trillion dollars the secretary of defense called these trillion dollars of cuts -- military. Devastating. -- -- -- The president's own secretary of defense called -- devastating. They look at it as it America's. Commitments around the world and they see what's happening and I say well McKay as America get going to be strong -- the answer is yes. If I'm president -- away very strong. We'll also make sure that we have trade relations with China that work for us. I've watched a year in and year out as companies have shut down. And people lost their jobs because China has not played by the same rules in part by holding down. Artificially the value of their currency -- -- down the prices of their goods. It -- our goods aren't as competitive. And we lose jobs that's -- and they're making some progress. They need to make more that's when day one -- -- label them a currency manipulator. Which allows us to apply terrace where they're taking jobs they're stealing our intellectual property patents are designs are technology. Hacking into our computers counterfeiting our goods they have to understand. We want to trade with them we want a world that stable we like free enterprise but you gotta play by the rules. -- governor let me just ask you. If you declared them currency manipulator on -- walk. Some people are saying you're just -- -- -- trade war with China on day one is that. Isn't there a risk that that could. Well they sell us about this much stuff every year. And we sell them but this much stuff every year so it's pretty clear who doesn't want to trade war. And there's one going -- right now which we don't know about its asylum one and and -- -- winning we have enormous trade imbalance with China and it's worse this year than last year. As worse last year than the year before. And so we have to understand that we can't just surrender. And and lose jobs year in year out we have to say to our friends in China look. You guys are playing aggressively we understand it yet but but this can't keep ongoing you can't keep on holding down the value their currency stealing our intellectual property. Counterfeiting our products selling them around the world even -- the United States I was with one company that makes valves. -- -- process industries. And they said look we -- we're having some bouts coming in that there were broken and we had to repair them under warranty. And we looked him up and and they had or serial number on a and that we noticed. That that there was more than one -- that same serial number there were counterfeit products being made overseas with the same serial number as a US company the same packaging. These were being sold and our market and around the world as if they were made. By the US competitor. This can't go -- I want a great relationship with China. China can be our partner but -- -- doesn't mean they can just roll -- and steal our jobs are not fair basis. Well governor -- right you are familiar with jobs being shipped overseas because you invested companies that -- ship jobs overseas. And -- that's your right I mean that's how are free market works. But I've made a different bat on American workers. Now if we -- taking your advise governor Romney about our auto industry we'd be by and cars from China instead of selling cars to China. If we take your advice -- respect to how we change our tax code so that companies that are profits overseas. Don't pay US taxes. Compared companies here that are paying taxes. Now that's estimated to create 800000 jobs problem as they won't be here don't be in places like China. And if we're not making investments. In education. And basic -- search which is not something that the private sector is doing at a sufficient case right now and has never done. That we will lose the weight and things like clean energy technology. Would respect to what we've done with China already. US exports have doubled. Since I came in office to China. And actually currencies are at their most advantageous point for US exporters. Since 1993. We absolutely have to make more progress and that's where we're gonna keep on pressing. And what it comes to our military and Chinese security. Part of the reason that we were able to. Pivot to the Asia Pacific region after having ended the war in Iraq. And transitioning out of Afghanistan is precisely because this is going to be a massive growth area in the future. And we believe China can be -- -- but we're also us sending a very clear signal. That America is a Pacific power that we are gonna have a presence there. We are working with the countries in the region to make sure for example that ships can pass through that that commerce continues. And we're organizing trade. Relations with countries. Other than China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards that's the kind of leadership we've shown in the region that the got a leadership -- will continue to. I just -- -- one of those points. Again -- attacking me is not talking about an agenda for him for getting more trade and opening up more jobs in this country. But the but the president mentioned the auto industry and that somehow I would -- in favor of jobs being elsewhere nothing could be further from the truth. I'm a son of Detroit I was born in Detroit my dad was head of a car company. I like American cars and I would did nothing to -- US auto industry. My plan to get the industry on its feet. But it was in real trouble. Was not the start writing checks it was President Bush the wrote the first checks I disagree with that I said they need these companies need to go -- a managed bankruptcy. And in that process they can get government help and government guarantees but they need to go through bankruptcy to get rid of excess cost and the debt burden that they'd they'd built up. Fortunately Robert the president I'll take what yourself fortunate I'm not -- Give -- take a look at the robbery you do get -- look at the -- that not so very not a natural target governor help I said that we will provide guarantees. And and that was what was a lot able to allow these companies to go through bankruptcy to come out of bankruptcy. Under no circumstances would I do anything other than to help this industry get on its feet and the idea that. It has been suggested that I would liquidate the industry of course not. Of course now let's check over the height of silliness -- -- -- -- -- set I would article record I would liquidate the -- governor I want to people of Detroit auto and for having. And and that's why. I have the kind of commitment to make sure that our. Industries in this country can compete and be successful we in this country can compete successfully with anyone in the world and we're going to. We're gonna have to have a president however. That doesn't think that somehow the government investing in in car companies like Tesla and -- -- making electric battery cars this is not research Mr. President these are. -- the government investing in companies. Investing in Solyndra. This is a company this is a basic research. I want to invest in research researchers great. Providing funding to universities and think tax great but investing in companies. Actually not got a guy that's the wrong -- to go back on -- speak at all so I wanted to assure that we make we make America more competitive -- And that we. Do those things that make America the most attractive place in the world for -- open doors. Innovators businesses to grow -- investing in companies doesn't do that in fact it makes it less likely for them to come here -- because the private sectors not gonna invest in the. I'll get -- -- solar company I'm happy to -- your -- if -- -- don't get more money while someone else's they. What I think anybody out there can check the record. Governor -- you keep on trying to. -- air brush history here you were very clear. That you would not provide. Government assistance. To the US auto companies. Even if they went through bankruptcy you said that they could get it in the private marketplace that wasn't true. They would have gone through a look at Iran I I don't know why I'm not a wrong I am not I don't look at it right people will look at -- But more importantly it is true that in order for us to be competitive. Had to make some Smart choices right now. Cutting our education budget that's not a Smart choice that will not help us compete with China. Cutting our investments in research and technology that's not a Smart choice that will not help us compete with China. Bringing down our deficit by adding seven trillion dollars. Of tax cuts and military spending that our military is not asking for before we even get to the debt that we currently have. That is not gonna make us more competitive. Those are the kinds of choices the American people face right now having a tax code that rewards companies that are shipping jobs overseas -- stepped -- Companies that are investing here in the United States that will not make us more competitive. And and the one thing that I'm absolutely clear is that after a decade. In which we sought thrift. Jobs being shipped overseas. Nobody championing American workers American business. We've now begun to make some real progress what we can't do is go back -- the same policies. That got us into such difficulty. In the first what's and that's why we have to move forward not go back. I could agree agree more about going forward but I certainly don't want to go back to the policies of the last four years. The policies of the last four years has seen incomes that America declined every year for middle income families now down 4300. Dollars during the term. 23 million Americans still struggling to find a good job. When you came to office 32 million people on food stamps today 47 million people on food stamps. When he came to office just over ten trillion dollars in debt. Now sixteen trillion dollars in debt it hasn't worked you -- by now -- be at five point 4% unemployment. We're nine million job short of that I've met some of those people. I've medal in Appleton Wisconsin. -- I met a young woman and and did it in Philadelphia was coming out us out of college can't find work I've -- and was with someone. Just the other day that would just weeping about not being able to get work that it it's just a tragedy in a nation so prosperous as ours but these last four years have been so hard. And that and that's why it's so critical that we make America once again the most attractive place in the world to start businesses to to build jobs to grow the economy. And that's not gonna happen. By by just hiring teachers look at I loved to have I love teachers and I'm happy that states and communities that want to hire teachers do that -- But what I don't like that the federal government start pushing its way deeper and deeper in -- into our schools let the states and localities do that I was a governor the federal government didn't hire teachers. Got up I love teachers but I wanna get our private sector growing and I know how to do I think we all loved teachers.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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