Saturday, November 3, 2012

U.S. Presidential Candidates Debate about China Issues

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. outsourcing (n.) – the act of taking work outside the country; asking people from another company or country to do some work
Example: Apple practices outsourcing because its products are made in China by another company called Foxconn.

2. be soft on (something or someone) (idiom) – to not give enough penalties to something or someone
Example: Many internet criminals remain unpunished because the government is too soft on them.

3. currency (n.) – money, bills and coins from a particular government or country
Example:  Japanese currency is called yen, while Philippine currency is called peso.

4. manipulation (n.) – the act of changing or controlling something
Example: The manipulation of currency happens when a country’s government lowers the value of its currency to make its products cheaper than those from other countries.

5. incumbent (adj.) –holding a position in government at present time
Example: Japan’s incumbent prime minister is Yoshihiko Noda.

Read the text below.

Trade and business policies with China were important topics during the US presidential debates held last October.

The two presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, talked about the issue of outsourcing and how they each planned to bring jobs back to the United States.

Romney said that China’s currency manipulation was the reason for the loss of jobs in the US and also why American goods have difficulty competing in the international market.

Through currency manipulation, China lowers the value of its currency, instead of allowing the value to change according to the free market. Lower valued currency means lower prices, and so more countries would want to buy from China.

Romney stressed that Obama’s administration has been too soft on China and that he would be tougher on China if he were elected president. Romney promised he would label China a currency manipulator and charge higher taxes on Chinese goods that unfairly compete with goods of US manufacturers.

In response, incumbent president Barack Obama questioned whether Romney would really be tough on China, pointing Romney’s past investment in companies that have done outsourcing to China.

Obama also said that under his term as president, China’s currency has already risen by 11% and US exports have increased because of pressure from the US government. The government has said before that it is careful not to upset China and cause trade wars, which may hurt the U.S. economy.

Analysts say that with many Americans worried about job loss, policy on China would greatly affect the decision of voters in the coming elections.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think the US should be tougher on China (as what Romney said) or should it be more careful in dealing with China (as what Obama said he has done)? Please explain your answer.
·         Are you worried about China affecting your country’s economy as well? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Are political debates necessary? Why or why not?
·         What big issues are politicians in your country debating on or talking about lately? What do you think about the issue?


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