Toledo, Ohio Mayor Says Stop Bashing China

Friday, October 05, 2012

For most mayors, having both presidential candidates campaigning in your town or city at the same time is cause for excitement. But for Mayor Michael Bell of Toledo, Ohio, it brought some mixed feelings. That’s because when the candidates made their campaign stop in Toledo last month, Mayor Bell was worried that what they might say could actually hurt his local economy.

With Romney labeling China a "currency manipulator," and Obama advocating against jobs going overseas to China, Mayor Bell was concerned the disparaging remarks could interfere with his plans to encourage Chinese investors to look to his town for future opportunities.  

John Hockenberry stopped by Mayor Bell's office in Toledo to talk about how America's relationship with China may impact his local economy. 

"I was concerned that we would insult the people that were prepared to help us," Mayor Bell says. "I was praying to God that they would be a little lighter on the rhetoric involving China in this period of time that we were doing the conference."

Mayor Bell thinks that America has become increasingly uncomfortable with China over the last few years because we are accustomed to being top dog. "We've been doing business with China for many many years," he says. "This is nothing new." In Toledo, the mayor has set aside ego, and invited Chinese investors to come to the city. 

"When I reach over there, and I bring businesses here and they're willing to invest here, this is now new money in the United States." Mayor Bell explains. Far from taking jobs away from the United States, doing this kind of business with China actually creates jobs, because as businesses grow, they need more and more employees.

So why all of the China-bashing in politics? "If you can jump onto something that people get energized about, realizing that most of them aren't going to research it, all you gotta do is roll with it," Mayor Bell says of the rhetoric. He also noted that, even while these things are being said, there is constantly business being done with China. "The bottom line is actually the dollar." As long as money is being made by business with China, Bell thinks that it isn't likely any of this rhetoric will have real implications for U.S. economic policy.  


Mayor Michael Bell

Produced by:

Rupert Allman, Arwa Gunja and Maggie Penman

Comments [4]

Rider I from USA

Stop bashing Communist China once they stop attacking Democracy.

Oct. 26 2012 09:55 PM

The city does not belong to the Mayor. No U.S. investors have stepped forward and opened a check book and put some cash down to invest. The city leadership could sit and wait or could act to find investors. We have invest in our city now, regardless the nationality of the investors.

Oct. 08 2012 06:03 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Everybody wants to become an American, it is the New World Dream

In Joss Whedon's television show "Firefly" people speak English with a mixture of Chinese curses.

We owe China money, they are coming into New York and buying large expensive properties in Manhattan. What do you think is going to happen?

Why is it that when I peel off that little tag which says, "Made In China," that the item falls apart?

Oct. 05 2012 12:30 PM
Angel from Miami, FL

Mayor Bell is ripe for selling out his city. The Chinese must be salivating with anticipation.

Whatever happened to the public official willing to sell out to American businesses? It seems they're outsourcing that, too.

Oct. 05 2012 10:11 AM

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