WASHINGTON, D.C. – A trade remedy that has helped more than 16 Ohio companies compete globally against unfair imports from countries like China could be revoked as early as mid-March unless Congress acts. Following a December ruling by a federal appeals court that would hamstring the ability of the U.S. to fight back against cheap Chinese imports, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced legislation that would clarify that the Commerce Department can impose tariffs and other duties against Chinese imports that benefit from illegal export subsidies.
“More than 16 Ohio companies who were facing unfair foreign competition got some relief when the U.S. imposed countervailing duties against imports made with illegal subsidies in countries like China. Countervailing duties are a critical tool industries have to fight unfair trade and protect jobs. Trade remedies help protect Ohio jobs, manufacturers, and small businesses,” Brown said. “Removing the ability of the Commerce Department to apply countervailing duties to illegally-subsidized imports from China puts thousands of Ohio jobs at risk. This bipartisan legislation will affirm the ability of the Commerce Department to legally apply tariffs and duties to imports from countries like China—which will help ensure that our businesses can compete on a level playing field. I urge leadership in both the House and the Senate to bring it forward quickly for a vote to prevent the unnecessary loss of American jobs to foreign countries.”
In December 2011, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit restricted the ability of the U.S. government to fight back against illegal trade practices from non-market economies such as China. The court ruled that because China is a “non-market economy,” countervailing duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department on certain Chinese imports are illegal. Shortly thereafter, Brown announced his plans to work with his colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee to introduce a bill that would allow the Commerce Department to legally apply tariffs and other countervailing duties to Chinese imports that benefit from illegal export subsidies. Earlier this month, Brown, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) urged leadership in the House and the Senate to expedite legislation that would address the court ruling.
In addition to Brown, the bill was introduced by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), John Thune (R-SD), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John D. (Jay) Rockefeller (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Casey (D-PA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tom Carper (D-DE) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). An identical, bipartisan bill was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A map and list of the Ohio companies impacted by countervailing duties is below. Click the image to see it full size.