WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) 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.

“Manufacturing is the backbone of the American economy, but when international trade law is not enforced, it gives foreign competitors an unfair advantage,” Brown said. “This threatens our manufacturers’ ability to compete and the jobs they support. The Commerce Department plays a critical role in ensuring that American workers and businesses compete on a level playing field. I look forward to working with Secretary Pritzker to address important trade issues such as currency manipulation and global overcapacity in the steel market in order to strengthen the U.S. economy and continue creating jobs.”

During his meeting with Secretary Pritzker, Brown called on DOC to do everything in its power to address the oversupply of steel in the international market. In recent years, this overcapacity has led to an influx of imports into the U.S. market, putting the American industry at a competitive disadvantage and threatening Ohio jobs. In advance of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) meeting this month, Brown urged DOC to encourage countries to reduce their steel supply in order to balance the international market.

According to Ernst & Young’s Global Steel 2014 report, the international industry would need to remove 300 million tons of steelmaking capacity to again make it sustainable. But countries like China that subsidize their industries make these reductions extremely difficult to achieve. Brown wants the OECD to develop a strategy to alleviate this issue and encourage countries with significant state participation in the steel sector to make greater progress toward reducing their overcapacity.  

Brown also urged DOC to take immediate and necessary actions to crack down on currency manipulation in advance of the 2014 U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). Brown called for DOC to support 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:

  • Create more than 250,000 Ohio jobs;
  • Reduce Ohio’s unemployment rate by up to 2.7 percentage points;
  • Create up to 75,900 Ohio manufacturing jobs;
  • Increase Ohio’s Gross Domestic Policy (GDP) output by up to $17.4 billion; and
  • Raise up to $3.7 billion for Ohio and its local communities as output growth leads to increased tax revenues and spending reductions.

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.