WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded action by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) aimed at defending American auto jobs—including jobs in Toledo and Marysville, Ohio—against unfair Chinese trade practices. The Obama Administration’s enforcement against China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) comes in response to unfair duties China has placed on more than $3 billion in auto exports from the U.S. In December, Brown sent a bipartisan letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk asking him to take action against China’s decision to apply unfair tariffs on American-made vehicles.

“American autoworkers can compete with any in the world, but they deserve to do so on a level playing field. The auto industry is helping turn our economy around by reviving manufacturing facilities across the nation. But we’re at risk of this progress being undercut if we allow China to continue to cheat and break trade laws,” Brown said. “Today’s announcement is the type of aggressive approach we need to address the unlevel playing field American automakers are facing.”

Duties placed by the Chinese government affect more than 80 percent of American auto exports to China, including vehicles like Jeeps and Acuras made in Toledo, Ohio and Marysville, Ohio, respectively.

According to a 2010 study by the Center for Automotive Research, more than 792,000 Ohio jobs depend on the auto industry; this figure includes 120,285 direct employment (people employed directly by auto industry: 39,685 by automakers and 80,600 by parts suppliers); 276,330 indirect employment (jobs indirectly employed by automakers or parts suppliers: 167,891 by automakers and 108,439 by parts suppliers); and 395,981 spin-off employment (expenditure-induced employment resulting from spending by direct and intermediate employees; 221,018 by automakers and 174,963 by suppliers). A 2011 study by the Center for Automotive Research found that 164,654 jobs in 2009 would have been lost in Ohio if the auto industry had not been rescued.

Brown is the author of the Currency Exchange and Oversight Reform Act, legislation that represents the biggest bipartisan jobs bill—at no cost to U.S. taxpayers—passed by the Senate last year. The legislation would allow the U.S. government to stand up for American jobs when China cheats by manipulating its currency to give its exports an unfair advantage.