WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged President Trump to stand firm in efforts to address the U.S. trade imbalance with China. In a letter, Brown outlined specific policy ideas the President should demand in order address the root causes of the trade imbalance and put a stop to China’s cheating.  

“It is important that these talks secure the structural changes necessary to reset U.S.-China trade relations and achieve a level playing field for U.S. workers and companies over the long-term,” wrote Brown. “China is skilled at engaging in dialogue without making meaningful commitments or following through on promises that are made. I am hopeful these talks will achieve tangible results for U.S. workers.” 

In his letter, Brown offers three steps the Administration could take now to ensure negotiations achieve a truly level playing field for U.S. workers and companies. These steps include:


China has violated its trade obligations for decades with impunity in large part because the WTO has not held China accountable and has instead made decisions that have eroded legitimate trade policies. Brown is calling on the Administration to restore the integrity of WTO by pushing China to agree to meaningful reforms to WTO, to comply with their WTO obligations, and to withdraw baseless WTO trade cases against the U.S. and Europe.


China utilizes a number of national and provincial programs to subsidize and provide other forms of preferential treatment to its domestic industries, especially those with a significant degree of state-ownership. By calling on China to dismantle these programs, the U.S. can secure a more level playing field between U.S. and Chinese companies. Brown also wants China to agree to address its overproduction of steel by shutting down state-run steel mills.


The Administration can also strengthen U.S. policies as part of the effort to rebalance the U.S.-China trading relationship and enhance the tools available to U.S. workers, industry, and government when China cheats. Brown is calling on the Administration to support enactment of the Foreign Investment Review Act, Brown’s bill with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to introduce which would require review of certain proposed foreign investments for their impact on the U.S. economy and jobs. Brown also underscores the importance of strengthening trade remedy laws so American workers and businesses more tools to fight back when China cheats.

Full text of Brown’s letter can be found HERE.


Immediately after President Trump’s election, Brown reached out to his transition team to offer his help in retooling U.S. trade policy. Brown wrote to Trump in November 2016 offering specific steps to work together on trade and Trump responded with a handwritten note. Since then, Brown has been engaging the President and top trade officials, including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to fight for Ohio priorities.