Brown, Portman Troubled by New Chinese Import Duties on American-Made Automobiles

Ohio Senators Raise Concerns to U.S. Trade Representative Kirk Over New Duties, Which May Violate World Trade Organization (WTO) Rules

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Troubled by China’s recent decision to apply new anti-dumping duties on American-made automobiles imported from the United States, Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman today sent a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk asking him to investigate the new tariffs and to use all available tools to address the issue.

“If China’s flagrant currency manipulation and hoarding of rare earth materials wasn’t enough to hurt Ohio manufacturers, now comes the news that its government has decided to impose new, unwarranted tariffs on American-made automobiles,” said Brown, whose bipartisan legislation, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011, passed the Senate this fall. “Auto manufacturing is critical to Ohio’s economy, and our carmakers must be able to sell their vehicles freely around the world—and that includes China. Ambassador Kirk should investigate these new duties immediately and take action before our manufacturers suffer further harm.

“This new violation is yet another reminder that the many promises made regarding China’s entry to the World Trade Organization have not lived up to expectations,” Brown added.

“Ohio auto manufacturers should not be subjected to unfair tariffs imposed by China and deserve to compete on a level playing field,” said Portman, who initiated the first-ever legal case to be litigated and won against China before the World Trade Organization because of China's unfair treatment of U.S.-made auto parts.  “I hope that USTR will quickly work to resolve this dispute that will hurt Ohio jobs.”

“This decision to impose additional tariffs on U.S. automobiles has a direct impact on Ohio exports and jobs in our state,” wrote the senators. “Ohio is a powerhouse automobile and auto supplier manufacturer, exporting thousands of Ohio-manufactured vehicles every year to consumers around the world.”

Portman and Brown also reiterated their concerns—previously expressed to the USTR and to other agencies in the Obama Administration—regarding China’s other, possible trade violations. “Unfortunately, this is not our only area of concern with China’s trade policies.  We continue to be concerned by intellectual property violations in China, the Chinese government’s continued support for thousands of state-owned enterprises, the persistent problem of trans-shipment and mislabeling of products coming from China that evade U.S. customs duties, and the hoarding of rare earth minerals, among other areas.  Additionally, we believe that China is manipulating their currency to the detriment of American workers and exporters.”

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Ambassador Kirk,

 

We are troubled by China’s recent announcement that it will impose new antidumping duties on American automobiles entering China.  This unfounded decision by the Chinese government appears to lack justification and merit, especially given that China already imposes high tariffs and taxes on U.S. automobiles, severely limiting American auto sales in China.

 

Further, as we recognize the ten year anniversary of China’s entry into World Trade Organization (WTO) this week, we are particularly concerned that China is taking this step, which could violate China’s WTO commitments.

 

This decision to impose additional tariffs on U.S. automobiles has a direct impact on Ohio exports and jobs in our state.  Ohio is a powerhouse automobile and auto supplier manufacturer, exporting thousands of Ohio-manufactured vehicles every year to consumers around the world. 

 

Unfortunately, this is not our only area of concern with China’s trade policies.  We continue to be concerned by intellectual property violations in China, the Chinese government’s continued support for thousands of state-owned enterprises, the persistent problem of trans-shipment and mislabeling of products coming from China that evade U.S. customs duties, and the hoarding of rare earth minerals, among other areas.  Additionally, we believe that China is manipulating their currency to the detriment of American workers and exporters.

 

We recognize China’s vital role as a U.S. export market.  In fact, over $2.2 billion of Ohio goods were exported to China last year, making it Ohio’s third largest export destination.  We understand China’s emergent role in the global marketplace, but China must compete fairly and play by the rules. 

 

We ask you to closely review the new Chinese tariffs and to use all available tools to address this important issue.

 

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

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