WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following new figures that show a 34 percent jump over last month’s U.S.-China trade deficit, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) held a news conference call today to announce he is introducing the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013, bipartisan legislation that would reform and enhance oversight of currency exchange rates. Specifically, the bill would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to U.S. manufacturers caused by currency manipulation, and provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment. Brown’s introduction comes in advance of upcoming talks between President Obama and Chinese President Xi.
“As our trade deficit continues to widen, our need to level the playing field for American manufacturers and workers becomes more urgent,” Brown said. “Yet instead of taking action, we’re pursuing trade deals with countries that manipulate currencies. American workers and manufacturers are the most competitive in the world. But when countries like China cheat by manipulating currency, that’s not competing – it’s cheating. Our bipartisan bill would create jobs by leveling the playing field for American manufacturers – at no cost to taxpayers.”
A complete summary of the Currency Exchange and Oversight Reform Act of 2013 can be read HERE.
Brown also released a county by county report on the number of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) certifications since 2011, obtained through the U.S. Department of Labor. TAA is a federal program that provides aid to workers who petition and are certified they lost their jobs or whose work hours and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports from foreign competitors. The report can be read HERE.
Brown was joined on the call by Bill Adler, the President of Stripmatic Products, Inc. in Cleveland, and the Board Chairman for the Precision Metalforming Association. Stripmatic Products supplies precision stamped metal bushings, anchor pins, dowel pins, spacers, sleeves and custom designed parts for automotive and heavy truck markets worldwide. Adler discussed how currency manipulation and unfair and illegal trade practices have hurt his business and others across Ohio, and how Brown’s bill would help to improve this problem.
“U.S. manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world when the competition is fair,” Adler said. “This bipartisan legislation is targeted at those countries that manipulate their currency to give themselves an unfair and illegal advantage against U.S. manufacturers that result in job losses here in the U.S.”
A December 2012 report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics concluded that currency manipulation by foreign governments had cost the U.S. from 1 million to 5 million jobs and increased the U.S. trade deficit by $200 billion to $500 billion per year.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that addressing currency manipulation could support the creation of 2.25 million American jobs. EPI also estimates that ending currency manipulation would increase Ohio’s jobs total by between nearly 95,000 and nearly 200,000; increase Ohio’s gross domestic product by between $8.26 billion and $17.41 billion; and increase Ohioans’ salaries by between $4.72 billion and $9.94 billion.
Brown’s bill has already garnered widespread support from American workers and businesses. Endorsements for the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013 include the AFL-CIO, Alliance for American Manufacturing, American iron and Steel Institute, Coalition for Prosperous America, Fair Currency Coalition, National Council of Textile Organizations, National Tooling and Machining Association, Precision Metalforming Association, and United Steelworkers.
“The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013 sends an important message that this nation will no longer tolerate currency manipulation by other governments,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “This wrongful and unfair practice distorts the global economy and disadvantages countries like the United States that follow international trade rules. The growth of these illegal actions has cost far too many jobs over the past several years. We call on the House and Senate to take action on this issue without delay.”
“The bill would put the proper tools in the hands of the Administration and the American people to eliminate this most distorting of unfair trade practices, which in reality taxes products the U.S. wants to sell to other countries, while subsidizing a flood of exports to our shores from China and other countries,” said President of the United Steelworkers, Leo W. Gerard.
Brown has long championed Ohio businesses and fought to protect them from illegal trade practices by foreign competitors, especially China. When Brown first introduced Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act in 2011, it represented the biggest bipartisan jobs bill—at no cost to U.S. taxpayers—passed by the Senate that year.
This week, Brown applauded the U.S. Commerce Department’s (DOC) preliminary ruling on a petition in favor of defending Ohio companies from illegally traded steel pipe by ensuring antidumping duties (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) continue to be levied on illegally subsidized and intentionally undersold Chinese steel pipe imports. The announcement followed efforts by Brown to urge the DOC to protect companies operating in Ohio like U. S. Steel in Lorain, Wheatland Tube Company in Warren, V&M Star in Youngstown, and TMK IPSCO in Brookfield from unfair and illegal Chinese trade practices.