Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday accused President Barack Obama of failing to "stand up to China" after the U.S. Treasury put off releasing a politically sensitive report on the currency policies of major U.S. trading partners.
"Four years after promising to take China ‘to the mat' for its manipulative currency practices, President Obama has once again failed to live up to his word," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement released by the campaign office.
"We can't afford another four years of President Obama's failure to stand up to China. Mitt Romney will do it on day one of his presidency," she said.
The U.S. Treasury on Friday said it would delay a semi-annual currency report until after a meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers in Mexico on November 4-5, which makes it unlikely the report will be released before the U.S. presidential election on November 6.
Past reports have repeatedly singled out China for not allowing its currency to appreciate more rapidly, but the Obama administration and the previous Bush administration have stopped short of labeling China a currency manipulator,
The yuan has appreciated 30 percent since July 2005 and China argues that its currency is no longer tightly controlled. The yuan firmed against the dollar on Friday, hitting an intraday higher for the second straight day.
Romney has said that if he wins the November election he would declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, arguing that China's trade and currency policies are harming U.S. workers and businesses.
Obama has criticized Romney for "talking tough" on China, while his previous job at Bain Capital sometimes cut U.S. jobs or sent them overseas.
(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Eric Beech)