WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee examining trade enforcement, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged Congress to pass his bipartisan legislation that would punish currency manipulators like China. Brown also announced that he is drafting legislation that will improve the effectiveness of domestic trade remedies and make sure the trade petition process is objective and does not favor foreign producers.
“Strong enforcement of U.S. trade law creates and supports jobs,” Brown said. “Throughout our history, American manufacturers have overcome every challenge to solidify our reputation as the world’s leading innovator. Our workers are still the most talented and hardest working in the world. But far too often, they have been forced to compete on an uneven playing field. In order to ensure their ability to compete, we must do everything necessary to enforce our trade laws. That means punishing currency manipulators, and making sure American companies get timely and effective relief when foreign competitors refuse to play by the rules.”
Today’s hearing, entitled “Using Trade Rules to Level the Playing Field for U.S. Companies and Workers,” featured expert testimony from, among others, U. S. Steel President and Chief Executive Officer Mario Longhi; and United Steelworkers (USW) International President, Leo Gerald. Both discussed the competitive disadvantage their workers face when countries violate trade law.
To level the playing field, Brown announced that he is drafting legislation that would make the trade relief process more effective for companies and workers harmed by unfair foreign competition. Brown also called on Congress to hold currency manipulators like China accountable by supporting his bipartisan legislation, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act. The bill would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to American manufacturers caused when countries unfairly undervalue their currency to give their exports an unfair price advantage. The legislation would provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment—all without adding a dime to the federal budget. In fact, Brown recently helped unveil a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) showing that cracking down on currency manipulation could reduce the U.S. trade deficit by as much as $500 billion within three years, increase GDP by as much as $720 billion, and create as many as 5.8 million American jobs—all while reducing the federal budget by as much as $266 billion.
Today’s hearing featured expert testimony from:
- Mario Longhi: President and Chief Executive Officer, United States Steel Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
- Leo Gerard: International President, The United Steel, Paper, and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (United Steelworkers), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Kevin Brosch: Trade Consultant, BroschTrade LLC, on behalf of the National Chicken Council, Washington, D.C.;
- Bart Peterson: Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana; and
- Richard Wilkins: Treasurer, American Soybean Association, Greenwood, Delaware.
Brown continues to fight for Ohio’s workers and its steel and manufacturing industries. Described as “Congress’ leading proponent of American Manufacturing,” Brown is a member of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, currently Vice-Chair of the Senate Auto Caucus, and was recently named incoming Chair of the Senate Steel Caucus.
Brown is also leading the fight to urge the Administration to apply trade remedies against Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) imports that violate trade law due to illegal subsidization or by selling at too low a price (dumping) and harming the competitiveness of American businesses and workers. In March 2014, Brown met with Longhi to discuss the case and efforts to help protect domestic steel producers. U. S. Steel is one of nine companies—along with Vallourec Star in Youngstown, TMK IPSCO in Brookfield, and JMC Steel in Warren—that has petitioned DOC to take steps against imports of OCTG.
Last week, Brown met with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), Penny Pritzker, to discuss the importance of protecting U.S. businesses and workers from unfair trade practices. Brown specifically urged DOC to impose antidumping duties (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) on countries that unfairly dump their steel in the U.S. market; work toward eliminating an oversupply of steel in the international market; and address currency manipulators like China that threaten American jobs and competitiveness.