Brown Highlights Trends in U.S.-China Auto Parts Trade: U.S. Auto Parts Deficit with China Grew to $10.2 Billion in 2011

TOLEDO, OH—In advance of the opening of the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined the United Autoworkers and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) to unveil new data outlining employment projections for Ohio’s auto industry.

“Four years ago, the auto industry was facing unprecedented challenges. The future was precarious not just at General Motors and Chrysler, but at Ford and foreign nameplates, and at manufacturers and suppliers throughout the Ohio. But through the restructuring, we acted.  And since then, we are seeing positive growth across our state,” Brown said. “In Northwest Ohio alone, this past year, we’ve seen new, major investments at the Chrysler Assembly Complex and at General Motors’ Powertrain plant in Defiance. And as the Center for Automotive Research’s new data reveals, our state is set to add even more auto jobs in the years to come—more than 3,500 by 2015.”

Brown was joined by Ken Lortz, UAW Regional Director, Region 2B, and Kristin Dziczek, Director of the Labor & Industry Group at CAR, to discuss how the auto assistance not only stabilized Chrysler and General Motors, but helped save and add manufacturing jobs throughout the State of Ohio.  CAR’S analysis revealed that Ohio added more than 3,000 new auto jobs between 2009 and 2010, and by 2015, Ohio will add more than 3,500 new jobs in the automotive sector.  

Brown also highlighted trends in U.S.-China auto parts trade. Brown is the author of the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011, which passed the Senate last October and is the biggest bipartisan jobs legislation to clear the Senate this session. Brown’s bill would create and protect jobs by cracking down on Chinese currency manipulation, an illegal trade practice in which the Chinese government intentionally devalues its own currency against the United States dollar to gain an unfair trade advantage. In June, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a reportshowing that addressing Chinese currency manipulation could support the creation of 2.25 million American jobs. 

“Despite positive projections, now is not the time to rest—especially as overseas competitors are ramping up. China will invest $1.5 trillion in strategic industries—including autos—over the next five years,” Brown added. “American auto makers and auto workers can compete with anyone, but not if we’re playing on an unlevel playing field. And between export subsidies and currency manipulation, it’s no wonder that since 2001, the U.S. auto parts deficit with China has grown exponentially—to $10.2 billion in 2011. So while there are jobs to be retained and created in the auto sector, we have to remain vigilant and we have to use trade enforcement tools to level the playing field for Ohio auto parts manufacturers.”

On Monday, Brown will attend the Detroit Auto Show and join a southwest Ohio electric vehicle company to reveal a new electric Jeep model. Amp Electric Vehicles, based in Loveland, will display a converted Jeep Grand Cherokee during a press conference at the auto show on Monday. The company will also release final pricing while introducing its first dealer, an Ohio-based dealership.

Brown has been an outspoken advocate for Ohio’s auto industry. In November of 2008, he introduced S. 3175, the Auto Industry Emergency Bridge Loan Act, with a bipartisan group of colleagues. In December 2008, Brown fought to ensure that funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) were allocated to aid the Big 3 and American auto suppliers. At the start of 2009, Brown applauded President Obama’s decision to advance restructuring plans to ensure the viability of the American auto industry. 

Last year, as the Toledo Auto Show kicked off, Brown called on the Chrysler Group to fully utilize the Toledo Assembly Complex by adding a new production line to the facility as part of the company’s planned 2011 expansion. Brown previously visited the Toledo Assembly Complex with Vice President Joe Biden in August 2010. At that visit, Brown and Biden touted the success thus far of the Administration’s actions to strengthen the American auto industry, including the role of the Administration’s investments in GM and Chrysler in helping these companies return to profitability, retain and hire workers, and keep plants open. In June 2011, Brown released a mapshowing the location of auto component manufacturers for two popular cars assembled in Ohio: General Motors’ Chevy Cruze and Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler.

In June 2011, Brown also met with workers and toured the Chrysler Group’s Toledo Supplier Park. Prior to the auto rescue, only 55 percent of the parts in Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler were made in America. Today, 70 percent of the Jeep Wrangler is American-made – with many parts made in Ohio. The glass is made in Crestline, the steering column in Perrysburg, the seats in Northwood, the hard top in Carey, and cargo components in Holmesville. According to a 2010 study by the Center for Automotive Research, more than 792,000 Ohio jobs depend on the auto industry.