Stabenow, Senators Urge President to Stand Up for U.S. Manufacturers and Get Tough With China and Japan
In his trip to Japan and China, Bush must join fight to curb illegal trade practices, senators say
With the U.S. suffering billions in lost manufacturing sales and thousands of American jobs hanging in the balance, President Bush must take the toughest possible stand with China and Japan on their illegal trade practices when he visits those nations next week, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and 14 other Senate colleagues said today.
Stabenow said the president must demand changes in the economic relationships we share with China and Japan. "President Bush needs to tell the leaders of China and Japan, We no longer accept your illegal trade practices and we demand that you change them.'
"We can no longer accept Japan's and China's currency manipulation, which allows them to artificially lower the price of their exports, and we can no longer accept the theft of our patents and intellectual property rights," Stabenow said. "I have been fighting in the Senate to strengthen our trade enforcement and protect U.S. jobs, and this is the opportunity for the president to join this fight. Together, we can do better."
In a letter to Bush today, the senators said that counterfeiting costs the auto industry - Michigan's prime industry - an estimated $12 billion a year in lost sales. Simply halting the counterfeiting of auto parts would allow manufacturers in the U.S. to add about 200,000 additional workers - which would be equal to cutting Michigan's unemployment rate by nearly two-thirds, Stabenow said.
By undervaluing its currency, the senators said, China holds down the price of its goods by between and 15 and 40 percent. "Undervaluation of yuan is tantamount to an illegal subsidy for imports from China and a large tax on U.S. exports to China," Stabenow said.
Stabenow noted a disturbing statistic. According to The Economist magazine, she said, manufacturing jobs in U.S. have dropped below 10 percent for the first time in history. "This nation cannot sustain a middle class without a manufacturing base, but our manufacturers are having a hard time these days," she said. "These illegal trade practices wipe out American manufacturing jobs."
"The president must stand up for our manufacturers and insist that China and Japan play by the rules," Stabenow said. "The president must act now - before our manufacturing sector and our middle class are taken from us."