WASHINGTON, D.C. – At the beginning of the 2014 U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the Administration to take immediate and necessary actions to crack down on currency manipulation. Brown also released an index of the effects of China’s trade, economic, and human rights policy on the U.S. economy, including its trade deficit of nearly $319 billion that has cost American workers 2.7 million jobs in the last decade.
“China’s failure to comply with its international trade obligations has for too long cost Americans jobs and undermined our competitiveness,” Brown said. “At this year’s S&ED, the Administration must stand up to China and address currency manipulation once and for all. Currency manipulation has weakened our economic recovery by creating an uneven playing field for American manufacturers. But by enforcing trade law, and working to close our trade deficit with China, we can protect local jobs and strengthen our economy, creating new jobs along the way.”
Last month, Brown wrote a letter with U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), calling for the Administration to provide a detailed strategy for combatting China’s currency manipulation. The senators are still waiting for a response. In addition to calling for the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act to become law, the Senators asked the Administration to outline all of its existing tools to combat currency manipulation and how it would use them to level the playing field for American workers and businesses. The senators’ legislation would increase the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) authority to use U.S. trade law to punish countries like China that distort trade by misaligning their currency. The harm of this and other unfair trade practices is detailed in a new index Brown released today. According to the index, among other findings, is that:
- 100 percent of annual United States Trade Representative (USTR) reports to Congress have cited China’s failure to comply with its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations;
- In 2000, the U.S. trade deficit with China was $83.83 billion;
- In 2013, the U.S. trade deficit with China grew to $318.71 billion; and
- 2.7 million U.S. jobs, as a result of the trade deficit, have been eliminated or displaced between 2001 and 2011.
Further, according to an April 2014 report by the U.S. Treasury Department, the Chinese yuan, or renminbi (RMB), remains significantly undervalued. But despite this evidence of misalignment, the Treasury Department has failed to designate China a “currency manipulator.” And while the Administration applauded China’s commitment during the 2013 S&ED to adopt a market-determined exchange rate, China has yet to deliver on this commitment. That is why Brown has called for President Obama to take further action to stand up for American workers and address China’s currency manipulation.
A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that ending currency manipulation could reduce the U.S. trade deficit by as much as $500 billion within three years, increase GDP by as much as $720 billion, and create as many as 5.8 million American jobs—all while reducing the federal budget deficit by as much as $266 billion. The report concluded that, “ending currency manipulation is the best available tool for stimulating demand for domestic output and ending the hangover of excess unemployment from the Great Recession.” Further, 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.
Brown continues to fight for Ohio’s workers and to ensure China is held accountable for unfair trade practices. Last month, following a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee examining trade enforcement, Brown announced that he is drafting legislation that would improve the effectiveness of domestic trade remedies and make sure the trade petition process is objective and does not favor foreign producers.
Brown also is co-chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC), which Congress created in 2000 to monitor China’s compliance with international human rights standards, to encourage the development of its rule of law, and to establish and maintain a list of victims of human rights abuses in China. The Commission submits an annual report to the President and Congress on these subjects.
According to the State and Treasury departments, the S&ED is the highest-level bilateral forum between the United States and China to address the challenges and opportunities that both countries face on a wide range of bilateral, regional, and global areas of immediate and long-term economic and strategic interest. The S&ED was established in April 2009 by President Obama and Chinese President Hu following an earlier series of talks first initiated in 2006 by the Bush Administration.