WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a December ruling by a federal appeals court that would hamstring the ability of the U.S. to fight back against unfairly-subsidized Chinese imports, the Senate today passed legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and a bipartisan group of senators that would maintain a trade remedy that allows American companies, including at least 16 Ohio companies, to compete on a level playing field with non-market economies like China. Last week, Brown introduced legislation that would clarify that the Commerce Department can impose countervailing duties (CVD) and tariffs against Chinese imports that benefit from illegal export subsidies.

In February, Brown, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) wrote a letter urging leadership in the House and the Senate to expedite legislation that would address the court ruling. The legislation was introduced on February 29th and cleared the Senate unanimously today, March 5th.

“Companies across Ohio have been affected by unfair foreign competition from countries like China. Countervailing duties help these small businesses and manufacturers compete on a level playing field—and removing the ability of the Commerce Department to apply those duties would have put an untold number of American jobs at risk,” Brown said. “By affirming the ability of the Commerce Department to legally apply tariffs and duties to imports from countries like China, we can help American businesses stand up to unfairly-subsidized imports from China and other non-market economies. Senators from both sides of the aisle agreed that these jobs are too important to lose to China, and I am pleased to see this bill clear the Senate quickly and unanimously.”

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.

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.

Ohio Companies Affected by Countervailing Duties

A map and list of the Ohio companies impacted by countervailing duties is below.  Click the image to see it full size.

Countervailing Duties