China Trade, Ohio Jobs Likely Topics In Brown, Mandel Debate

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Republican challenger Josh Mandel (left) and Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown (right) debate twice this week in bid for U-S Senate(Photo: Tom Borgerding/WOSU)
Republican challenger Josh Mandel (left) and Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown (right) debate twice this week in bid for U-S Senate(Photo: Tom Borgerding/WOSU)

Candidates for U.S. Senate in Ohio debate this afternoon in Cleveland and later this week in Columbus. Unlike races for statewide office, candidates for senate often include national and international trade issues in their pitch for votes.
As Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel hone their campaigns, both have turned to international trade and trade with China in particular to gain an edge with voters.

But, Denison University political scientist Paul Djupe says candidates take risks when raising trade issues.

“It really cross-cuts, I mean you’ll hear free-trade democrats, you’ll hear free trade republicans, and you’ll hear protectionist  democrats and protectionist republicans, so the politics don’t add up very easily here.”  Says Paul Djupe

Figures from the Ohio Department of Development illustrate the cross cut. Last year, Ohio exported 2-point-7 billion dollars worth of materials to China….but, imports from China to Ohio topped 11-billion dollars.

Brown purposefully links China trade to Ohio’s loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs between 2001 and 2011.

“We do chemicals in Ohio, we do foundries, we do steel.”

Brown makes his point while addressing workers at a southside Columbus foundry. He touts his legislation to sanction Beijing for using currency controls to help China compete with Ohio factory and assembly workers.

“And when you see a country cheat on its currency, it basically means when you sell into that country you have a 20 percent disadvantage. When they sell into our country and compete with us, they have a 20 percent, basically, bonus.”  Says Brown.

Republican Mandel dismisses Brown’s effort to sanction China.

“I think the current legislation is misguided, meaningless, and has no teeth whatsoever.”

Mandel says diplomatic pressure toward China would be more effective in the bi-lateral tug of war for manufacturing jobs.

“Unfortunately the trade deficit with Sherrod Brown in Washington has gotten worse, and worse, and worse. And so I believe he has no credibility and no footing whatsoever to introduce legislation.” Says Mandel.

Mandel and Brown today will get further chance to address China trade, jobs, and the economy later at a Cleveland City Club debate. Later this week they’ll debate in Columbus.

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