WASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded a decision from the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body upholding a decision by the United States—and rejecting an appeal from China—to impose duties on imports of Chinese tires. Previously, a WTO panel had dismissed claims from China against the United States, with the Appellate Body rejecting China’s claims on appeal today. The move will allow the U.S. to continue to take action against cheap Chinese tire imports that have undermined Ohio tire manufacturers and workers in Findlay.
“Trade enforcement is about standing up for American jobs, and today’s victory will improve the competitiveness of tire makers in Findlay and across America. I applaud the WTO for making the right decision today and for standing against China’s unfair and illegal trade practices,” Brown said. “Too often, countries like China have flouted trade laws by manipulating currency and subsidizing domestic industries— moves that have made it harder for Ohio manufacturers to compete with cheap foreign imports. Today’s decision from the WTO is another victory for Ohio workers against foreign interests.”
In June 2009, Brown testified before the ITC in support of rubber tire workers in Findlay who were being undermined a flood of Chinese imports dumped into the U.S. Following his testimony, the ITC ruled on behalf of tire workers, and President Obama announced that he would enforce "Section 421" trade safeguards that protect American manufacturers from excessive imports. After the ruling, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company announced plans to add capacity to its Findlay tire plant and hire up to 100 workers.
From 2004 through 2008, Chinese tire imports had a drastic impact on domestic tire producers, leading to the loss of more than 5,100 industry jobs nationally during this period, with four facilities closed and capacity reduced in others. On September 11, 2009, President Obama—following a recommendation from the U.S. International Trade Commission—would enforce "Section 421" trade safeguards that protect American manufacturers from excessive imports. China's exports to the United States have decreased significantly since the safeguard went into effect.
By testifying or petitioning on behalf of workers before international trade enforcement bodies like the International Trade Commission (ITC) and advocating U.S. action at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Brown has fought for trade enforcement measures that create and protect jobs in Ohio’s rubber tire, oil country tubular goods and steel, coated paper, aluminum, and wind turbine industries.
Ohio’s Oil Country Tubular Goods and Steel Industry: In December 2009 and September 2010, Brown testified before the 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 like V&M Star and Wheatland Tube in Warren. 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.
Ohio’s Coated Paper Industry: In September 2010, Brown submitted testimony to the ITC on behalf of coated paper manufacturers in Ohio—including NewPage Corporation in Miamisburg and SMART Papers in Hamilton—that have been hit hard by these illegally subsidized imports. The ITC’s unanimous vote applied duties on Chinese coated paper imports.
Ohio’s Aluminum Industry: In March 2011, Brown testified before the ITC on behalf of Ohio aluminum extruders. Since 2007, Chinese aluminum imports have risen, with the Chinese gaining a 25 percent market share during a time of decreased demand. China's underselling in the U.S. has lead to lost revenue and business. U.S. aluminum extrusion companies have been forced to lay off workers, shut plants, reduce production, and reduce the number of shifts for workers. On May 3, 2011, the ITC voted to impose duties on certain aluminum extruders for five years.
Ohio’s Wind Turbine Industry: Ohio has a burgeoning clean energy industry—and auto parts supply chain eager to retool—that is being undermined by foreign competition. More than 70 percent of clean energy components are made outside of the U.S., with China on track to make half of world’s wind turbines and solar panels - and then sell them to countries like the U.S. In September 2010, American steel workers filed a petition accusing China of violating WTO rules by restricting access to raw materials; requiring investors to share technology; discriminating against foreign firms; and providing subsidies contingent on exporting of clean tech goods. Brown led a group of 43 senators in sending a letter to President Obama urging the administration to act upon China’s unfair trade practices that were identified by the Steelworkers. In December, USTR Kirk announced next steps for addressing these illegal practices and this past June, China announced it would end its illegal subsidy program for wind turbine manufacturers.
Following reports in 2009 that a West Texas wind farm received $450 million in Recovery Act funding would purchase wind turbine components made in China, Brown called for strong domestic sourcing requirements and introduced the American Renewable Energy Jobs Act. This legislation which would ensure that grant money distributed through the "1603" wind energy program is given only to clean energy projects that preserve and create jobs in the United States. In June 2010, The United Steelworkers (USW) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced a new partnership to make the U.S. a leader in wind energy. The two groups released a framework agreement creating a "Partnership for Progress" to accelerate the development and deployment of wind energy manufacturing in the U.S. In August 2010, an agreement between the USW and two of China's leading power generation companies that will enable production of clean energy components in the United States.