WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced the Leveling the Playing Field Act, which would strengthen enforcement of trade laws and strengthen U.S. industries’ ability to fight back against unfair foreign trade practices.

“Trade enforcement is critical to preventing more layoffs, like those we’ve seen recently in the steel sector, and preventing American jobs from being sent overseas,” said Brown. “The Leveling the Playing Field Act will restore strength to our nation’s trade laws, fight back against unfair trade, and ensure that American companies and workers can compete in a fair marketplace.” 

This week, Brown met with Doug Polk, Vice President of Industry Affairs for Vallourec USA –which has a presence in Youngstown – to discuss the negative impact of steel imports on the domestic steel industry, including the impact of dumping.

The Leveling the Playing Field Act would restore strength to antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) statutes that allow businesses and workers in the United States to petition the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission (ITC) when foreign producers sell goods in the U.S. below market price or receive illegal subsidies. Specifically the bill would:

  • Maintain Commerce’s discretion to use adverse facts available when a mandatory respondent does not cooperate with an investigation and clarify that the agency is not obligated to determine what a margin would be if the respondent had participated;
  • Increase the number of factors and the length of time the ITC should use to evaluate injury or the threat of injury to U.S. producers to ensure a determination is based on a comprehensive assessment of a sector’s situation.
  • Close the “new shipper” loophole used by companies to circumvent AD/CVD duties.
  • Increase penalties for failure to provide a country of origin certificate for merchandise covered under AD/CVD orders or for falsifying the information on the certificate.
  • Clarify that Commerce has the authority to determine whether to include voluntary respondents in an investigation.
  • Clarify that Commerce does not have to conduct an additional investigation to prove that disregarded product values used in non-market economy investigations are subsidized or dumped if the record already shows the product values to be distorted.

Brown has been a leading advocate in the Senate for fair trade that helps American workers and manufacturers. Earlier this year, Brown led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation that would address currency manipulation – another tool used by countries like China to cheat trade law. The Currency Undervaluation Investigation Act would reform and enhance oversight of currency exchange rates to hold counties accountable when they manipulate their currency.