Brown’s Bill Cracking Down on China Currency Manipulation—Which Allows Chinese Businesses to Undermine American Manufacturers Through Cheap Imports—Cleared Senate Last Week
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded a ruling from the U.S. Department of Commerce that will help protect the jobs of more than 300 Ohioans at Diamond Products in Elyria. Diamond Products, which makes diamond sawblades, faced unfair competition from underpriced imports from China. The Commerce Department ruled last week that full antidumping (AD) duties will apply to diamond sawblade imports produced by a particular Chinese company, Hebei Husqvarna JV, which sought in an appeal to the Commerce Department to use a lower rate of duties.
“This is about standing up for Ohio workers against unfair foreign trade. Trade enforcement helps protect Ohio jobs. Our manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world on a level playing field,” Brown said. “Time and time again, countries like China have flouted trade laws, which has made it difficult for our manufacturers to succeed. This decision is another victory for Ohio workers against foreign interests, and I applaud the Commerce Department for standing with Elyria workers.”
In July, Brown wrote to the Commerce Department urging the agency to uphold a preliminary determination that would help protect jobs at Diamond Products in Elyria. The letter is attached.
Last week, the Senate passed the largest bipartisan jobs legislation in this session of Congress—a bill to crack down on Chinese currency, authored by Brown. The Chinese government has long practiced currency manipulation by intentionally devaluing its own currency against the United States dollar. This results in artificially expensive American imports to China, and artificially cheap Chinese imports to the United States. This puts Ohio and American manufacturers at a serious disadvantage, and makes it more difficult for American companies to compete against Chinese companies. In response to years of illegal currency manipulation carried out by the Chinese government, the U.S. Senate last week passed a bipartisan bill led by Brown to level the playing field for American manufacturers and crack down on this unfair trade practice. The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011, which would give the Obama Administration stronger authority to address currency manipulation and misalignment, cleared the Senate by a vote of 63 to 35. The bill must now be voted on by the House of Representatives.
The victory for Elyria workers follows a string of trade enforcement measures for which Brown has fought for on behalf of tire workers in Findlay, steel workers in Youngstown, Warren, and Lorain, 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 by 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 ITC 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 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 led 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.