WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded the signing of an executive order by President Obama to establish the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC). Brown is the author of the Currency Exchange and Oversight Reform Act, legislation that represents the biggest bipartisan jobs bill—at no cost to U.S. taxpayers—passed by the Senate last year. According to new reports released last month, because of China’s cheating in the auto parts trade, more than 1.6 million American manufacturing jobs are at risk.
“Manufacturing is the backbone of a strong economy—and trade enforcement is critical to protecting manufacturers in Ohio and across America from the predatory practices of China. With a record U.S.-China trade deficit in 2011, we must be aggressive about cracking down on trade law violations in order to retain and create advanced manufacturing jobs,” Brown said. “The Interagency Trade Enforcement Center is an important signal to our trading partners—including China—that the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to illegal trade law violations. The next step is to address China’s flagrant currency manipulation, which amounts to an unfair subsidy of anywhere from 20 to 40 percent for Chinese businesses exporting to the United States.”
This month, in advance of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the United States, Brown sent a letter to the White House to call for a more aggressive approach to challenging China’s array of export subsidies and practices. In the letter, sent to Vice President Joe Biden, Brown asked the Administration to engage with China on a variety of trade issues, including currency manipulation, rare earth materials, state-owned enterprises, indigenous innovation, intellectual property theft, labor rights, export credit agencies, and the evasion and circumvention of antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duties.
Through the enforcement of trade law and the application of countervailing duties, Ohio jobs have been created. In December 2009 and September 2010, Brown testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of Ohio steel workers, including those at U.S. Steel in Lorain, V&M Star in Youngstown, and Wheatland Tube Co. in Warren. The ITC's ruling in the December 2009 case led to a border measure on imports to support domestic producers of steel pipe. By addressing illegal Chinese trade practices, this decision helped increase demand for domestic production. It also played a critical role in V&M Star's decision to build a new, $650 million seamless pipe mill in Youngstown, bringing an estimated 350 regional jobs along with it.