Decision Follows String of Trade Enforcement Victories in Which Brown Stood up for Ohio Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded a decision from the Commerce Department that will help protect candle industry jobs in Norwich and Leesburg against unfair competition from China. In January, Brown sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke asking him to stand up for American candle producers against pressure from foreign interests seeking to loosen the scope of duties applied against Chinese petroleum wax candles. These antidumping duties help level the playing field for American manufacturers by preventing a flood of artificially-cheap imports. This week, the Commerce Department ruled that all candles (with the exception of birthday, utility, and figurine candles) will remain subject to the antidumping duties.
“Trade enforcement is about standing up for American jobs. Today’s victory will help save candlemaking jobs right here in Ohio at Lumi-Lite in Norwich and Candle-Lite in Leesburg,” Brown said. “For too long, we’ve passed wrongheaded trade agreements that don’t put American jobs first. Time and time again, countries like China have flouted trade laws by manipulating currency and subsidizing domestic industries— moves that have made it harder for American manufacturers to compete with cheap foreign imports. Today’s decision is another victory for Ohio workers against foreign interests.”
In response to pressure from candle importers, the Commerce Department had proposed limiting the scope of antidumping duties to certain shapes and designs of candles. This proposed action had been of great concern to U.S. producers, because it would allow Chinese manufacturers to avoid the antidumping order by creating new shapes and sizes of candles; stunt the ingenuity and creativity of the U.S. candle industry, because it would not be able to compete with the new Chinese designs that likely would be imported at artificially-low prices; and harm the still-vulnerable U.S. candle industry.
This week’s victory follows a string of trade enforcement measures on which Brown has fought for on behalf of tire workers in Findlay, steel workers in Youngstown, Warren, and Lorain, coated paper workers in Miamisburg and Hamilton, and wind energy workers across Ohio. By testifying or petitioning on behalf of workers before international trade enforcement bodies like the International Trade Commission (ITC) and advocating U.S. action at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Brown has fought for trade enforcement measures that create and protect jobs.
Ohio’s Tire Industry: In June 2009, Brown testified before the ITC in support of rubber tire workers in Findlay who were being undermined a flood of Chinese imports dumped into the U.S. Following his testimony, the ITC ruled on behalf of tire workers, and President Obama announced that he would enforce "Section 421" trade safeguards that protect American manufacturers from excessive imports. After the ruling, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company announced plans to add capacity to its Findlay tire plant and hire up to 100 workers.
Ohio’s Oil Country Tubular Goods and Steel Industry: In December 2009 and September 2010, Brown testified before the on behalf of Ohio steel workers including those at U.S. Steel in Lorain, V&M STAR in Youngstown, and Wheatland Tube Co. in Warren. The ITC's ruling in the December 2009 case led to a border measure on imports to support domestic producers of steel pipe like V&M Star and Wheatland Tube in Warren. By addressing illegal Chinese trade practices, this decision helped increase demand for domestic production. It also played a critical role in V&M Star's decision to build a new, $650 million seamless pipe mill in Youngstown, bringing an estimated 350 regional jobs along with it.
Ohio’s Coated Paper Industry: In September 2010, Brown submitted testimony to the ITC on behalf of coated paper manufacturers in Ohio—including NewPage Corporation in Miamisburg and SMART Papers in Hamilton—that have been hit hard by these illegally subsidized imports. The ITC’s unanimous vote applied duties on Chinese coated paper imports.
Ohio’s Aluminum Industry: In March 2011, Brown testified before the ITC on behalf of Ohio aluminum extruders. Since 2007, Chinese aluminum imports have risen, with the Chinese gaining a 25 percent market share during a time of decreased demand. China's underselling in the U.S. has lead to lost revenue and business. U.S. aluminum extrusion companies have been forced to lay off workers, shut plants, reduce production, and reduce the number of shifts for workers. On May 3, 2011, the ITC voted to impose duties on certain aluminum extruders for five years.
Ohio’s Wind Turbine Industry: Ohio has a burgeoning clean energy industry—and auto parts supply chain eager to retool—that is being undermined by foreign competition. More than 70 percent of clean energy components are made outside of the U.S., with China on track to make half of world’s wind turbines and solar panels - and then sell them to countries like the U.S. In September 2010, American steel workers filed a petition accusing China of violating WTO rules by restricting access to raw materials; requiring investors to share technology; discriminating against foreign firms; and providing subsidies contingent on exporting of clean tech goods. Brown led a group of 43 senators in sending a letter to President Obama urging the administration to act upon China’s unfair trade practices that were identified by the Steelworkers. In December, USTR Kirk announced next steps for addressing these illegal practices and this past June, China announced it would end its illegal subsidy program for wind turbine manufacturers.
Following reports in 2009 that a West Texas wind farm received $450 million in Recovery Act funding would purchase wind turbine components made in China, Brown called for strong domestic sourcing requirements and introduced the American Renewable Energy Jobs Act. This legislation which would ensure that grant money distributed through the "1603" wind energy program is given only to clean energy projects that preserve and create jobs in the United States. In June 2010, The United Steelworkers (USW) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced a new partnership to make the U.S. a leader in wind energy. The two groups released a framework agreement creating a "Partnership for Progress" to accelerate the development and deployment of wind energy manufacturing in the U.S. In August 2010, an agreement between the USW and two of China's leading power generation companies that will enable production of clean energy components in the United States.