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Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Overnight Roundup: Obama Presses Xi on Trade

by Newsteam Staff
February 15, 2012

Photo of the Day: U.S. President Barack Obama with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office, February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: U.S. President Barack Obama with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office, February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

President Obama spoke with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping at the White House on Tuesday issuing a friendly-but-firm message (Reuters) that Beijing must improve its record on trade. Trade has been a nagging issue between the two countries, as the U.S. trade deficit with China soared to a record $295.5 billion in 2011 amid accusations that China manipulates its currency to give itself an exporting advantage. A recent poll shows voters mistakenly believe China has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest economy indicating concerns about U.S. economic standing.

“We want to work with China to make sure that everybody is working by the same rules of the road when it comes to the world economic system, and that includes ensuring that there is a balanced trade flow,” Obama said. For his part, Xi said that economic disputes should be resolved through dialogue, “not protectionism.”

As the economy continues to resonate on the campaign trail, a New York Times/CBS poll released Tuesday found that when voters were asked to name one issue that presidential candidates should discuss, most voters in both parties mentioned an economic problem (NYTimes) such as unemployment or the budget deficit. 

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul issued a statement on the fiscal 2013 budget proposal Tuesday, criticizing it for spending too much. “The debt should be priority number one, for everybody,” he said. “Washington does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. So, it doesn’t matter how much we raise taxes, if we do not cure our disease of overspending we will not end the vicious cycle of borrowing and printing well beyond our means.”

In California Tuesday, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich addressed local issues (CBS47) such as the water issues that affect the Central Valley’s largest industry, agriculture. “I think we have to revisit the entire way the Fish and Wildlife Service made its judgments and I would insist that we have some kind of economic rationality both with EPA and Wildlife,” said Gingrich. Republican candidates have continued to criticize what they say are excessive federal environmental regulations that impede U.S. economic growth.

– Contributing Editor Liriel Higa

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