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SCHULTZ: In my playbook tonight, the Senate is taking steps to save America"s jobs by cracking down on China"s unfair and dishonest trade policies. China has imposed taxes as high as 25 percent on some imports to protect its own companies. Some economists estimate China has deliberately undervalued its own currency by as much as 40 percent. These practices have cost millions of jobs to be lost in the United States when it comes to the manufacturing sector.
Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is introducing legislation that would prevent the United States government from buying Chinese goods until they adopt fair trading practices. She joins us on THE ED SHOW. Senator good to have you with us tonight.
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Great to be here.
SCHULTZ: This is, at least as I can recall, the most aggressive legislation that anybody has put on the table to deal with China to date. Are you going to get any help on this?
STABENOW: Actually, Ed, I think we will. This is bipartisan. I had a hearing today in the Finance Committee where Secretary Geithner came in to talk to us about China. There was brought support in the committee, people talking about the fact that we have a country that--in China that, as you said, gets artificial discounts on what they sell to us by devaluing their currency. They steal our patents.
And now they want to adopt this new policy called indigenous innovation. What that means is they want to say if you"re not a Chinese business, if you don"t have a Chinese patent, they won"t do business with you, they won"t buy your products. That shuts us out completely. This is a market where we want to sell.
I want to export our products. I want to export our automobiles, not our jobs. So simply this legislation, which is bipartisan, would say until they sign an agreement other countries have sized under the WTO, open up their government purchasing, we"re not going to open ours. The federal government should not be buying their products.
SCHULTZ: Does this lead us to a trade war?
STABENOW: It shouldn"t. It should not. Although, I guess, Ed, you know what I would say is? We have waited ten years, When they entered the WTO in 2000, they didn"t sign this fair government procurement deal that they were supposed to, this agreement. They didn"t sign it. It"s been ten years. Now, instead of signing it, they"re going in the opposite direction. We don"t want a trade war, but what we want is fair trade. As we said, we want to export our products, not our jobs.
I was just over there at a global auto-leaders summit. I was asked to speak, I went to the Beijing Auto Show. I saw American made, Michigan made automobiles, great automobiles people want to buy. As you said, there"s a 25 percent tariff on those automobiles coming in. Now, with this new policy, basically, they"re saying our auto companies can"t sell, if they"re purchasing through the government. So, it"s just not fair. We want fair trade.
SCHULTZ: You think this will change the manufacturing sector? Right now, they"re eating our lunch.
STABENOW: Well, they are, in so many ways. All we"re saying is that China, you have been in the WTO for ten years, That was supposed to bring you in and make you part of the rules. And yet you"re still doing all those things. We"ve lost millions of jobs, six million manufacturing jobs in the last decade.
I don"t know about you, Ed, but I"ve had it. While we"re turning things around in clean manufacturing, and we"re investing--we have an administration that understands we need to make things in this country. We can"t get to where we want to go with unfair trade.
SCHULTZ: If you really want to shake them up, why don"t we impose some tariffs?
STABENOW: I"m willing to do that. I think if they drop their tariffs, that"s great. We ought to be doing a level playing field. If they want to put a 25 percent tariff on our automobiles going in, then fine, we can put one on theirs.
SCHULTZ: Senator, good to have you with us tonight.
STABENOW: Thanks, Ed.
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