WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined four senators to introduce bipartisan legislation to prevent Federal taxpayer dollars from buying Chinese products and services until the Chinese government plays by the rules. Right now, American businesses are not allowed to access the roughly $500 billion Chinese government procurement market while the United States government continues to purchase Chinese tires, ammunition, office equipment, and even U.S. Mint coins. The China Fair Trade Act, introduced by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), will stop China's industrial policies from further harming American industries and workers.
"When China fails to play the rules, U.S. tax dollars should not be used to buy Chinese-made products," Brown said. "American workers and manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world, but they deserve a level playing field. That means China must stop manipulating its currency, stop massively subsidizing production, and start opening its markets. It's been ten years since China joined the WTO and they're still playing by their own set of rules. This is about investing in Ohio manufacturing and promoting exports."
Despite being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for ten years, China prevents American and other foreign companies from bidding on Chinese government contracts through an "indigenous innovation" program. Unfortunately, the United States cannot successfully challenge this program at the World Trade Organization (WTO) until the Chinese government agrees to sign onto the Agreement of Governmental Procurement. By signing this agreement, China will be forced to end its discriminatory program, and allow American companies to bid on Chinese government contracts.
This legislation will plug loopholes in Buy American laws, which allow for the U.S. government to buy Chinese goods. It also requires the U.S. Department of Commerce to report on how China's policies are harmful to our economy and requires the U.S. Department of Energy to monitor how China is developing its renewable energy sector, which impacts American manufacturers. U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Bob Casey (D-PA) joined Brown is cosponsoring the legislation.
Sen. Brown is the Chair of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy and a vocal advocate for trade deficit reduction. Brown is the author of the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act, which would require a review of existing trade agreements, provide an opportunity to renegotiate existing trade agreements, and outline principles of what should be included in future trade agreements. The legislation also calls for the role of Congress in trade policymaking to be strengthened.