Bain & Company, with Mitt Romney as chief executive, provided business advice to Chinese and Russian government officials during the early 1990s, according to a report Wednesday by the Associated Press.
The nature and extent of the consulting firm’s work in those countries is unclear, and there is no apparent contradiction between Bain’s services and Romney’s current positions on US relations with China and Russia.
But the mere fact that Romney’s team assisted those governments could further complicate his attempts to appear more muscular toward the two powers than President Obama. Romney has vowed to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office—a move Obama has decided not to make—and has called Russia “our number one geopolitical foe.”
In 1993, Bain & Company held management seminars for government trade officials in China and also helped to guide the transition toward business privatization in post-Soviet Russia. Other US firms performed similar work.
Bain & Company is the parent of Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded.
Romney has been particularly critical of Obama’s posture toward China, claiming the president has not done enough to prevent China from gaining unfair competitive advantages over American businesses by artificially lowering its currency.
But the Globe reported last month that Romney has made business and personal investments in Chinese companies, including some guilty or suspected of practices Romney criticizes on the campaign trail.Callum Borchers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.