WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced passage of components of his currency manipulation bill, along with the Leveling the Playing Field Act, and an anti-child labor provision. Brown’s measures were passed as part of a larger bill to strengthen trade enforcement and reauthorize the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“We can’t have trade promotion without trade enforcement,” Brown said. “This bill will help crack down on currency manipulation, give American industries – like the steel industry – new tools to fight back when their competitors cheat, and put an end to the import of products made with child labor.”
The reauthorization package includes portions of Brown’s bill to crack down on currency manipulation. Last month, Brown and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) secured passage of the measure as an amendment during a Senate Finance Committee markup on the trade package. Brown introduced the Currency Undervaluation Investigation Act in February. It would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to U.S. manufacturers caused by currency manipulation, and provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment. The bill – cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Richard Burr (R-NC) – would require the Commerce Department to treat currency manipulation as an illegal subsidy and impose applicable duties.
Of the currency provision, Brown said: “American workers can compete with anyone in the world – but their ability to compete relies on strong enforcement of our trade laws. It’s past time to crack down on currency manipulation. By addressing this illegal practice, we can create middle class jobs and give American industries the boost they need.”
The customs bill also includes Brown’s Leveling the Playing Field Act – which would increase the ability of U.S. industries, like steel, to fight back against unfair foreign trade practices – and a provision that Brown helped pass during last month’s markup aimed at stopping imports made by forced or child labor. Under current law, some imports that are produced through child or forced labor are allowed to enter the U.S. if there is not sufficient supply to meet domestic demand.
Brown reaffirmed his call for President Obama to veto the Fast Track bill unless he has the opportunity to sign today’s trade enforcement and customs bill first.