U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Bob Casey (D-PA) yesterday introduced bipartisan legislation, the China Fair Trade Act , to prevent Federal taxpayer dollars from buying Chinese products and services until the Chinese government plays by the rules. Right now, American businesses are not allowed to access the roughly $500 billion Chinese government procurement market while the United States government continues to purchase Chinese tires, ammunition, office equipment, and even U.S. Mint coins. The China Fair Trade Act will stop China's industrial policies from further harming American industries and workers.
"China continues to discriminate against American businesses, refusing to let our companies bid on Chinese government contracts," Stabenow said. "We want to export our products--not our jobs. Until China agrees to play by the rules, our legislation guarantees Federal taxpayer dollars are not being used to purchase Chinese goods and services."
"I want a good, working relationship with China, but that partnership needs to be fair and equitable," said Senator Lindsey Graham. "Today, China has its cake and eats it too when it comes to international trade law. They get the benefit of international community compliance and accept few of the burdens. This bill addresses that inequity and helps level the playing field. I want the U.S. to be a good partner, but we're not going to sit on the sidelines and allow them to manipulate the markets at our expense. China is unfairly reducing market access for U.S. companies. The time has come to push back."
"This bill is a good step toward addressing the deeply flawed policies on trade with China that have devastated Wisconsin manufacturers and shipped tens of thousands of jobs out of our state," Feingold said. "Until China plays by the rules, we shouldn't use American taxpayer dollars to buy Chinese products and services. American businesses deserve to compete on an equal footing and our government needs to take seriously China's unfair practices that have been hurting our national, state and local economies for years."
"When China fails to play the rules, U.S. tax dollars should not be used to buy Chinese-made products," Brown said. "American workers and manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world, but they deserve a level playing field. That means China must stop manipulating its currency, stop massively subsidizing production, and start opening its markets. It's been ten years since China joined the WTO and they're still playing by their own set of rules. This is about investing in Ohio manufacturing and promoting exports."
"There are many examples of China refusing to play on a level playing field," said Senator Casey. "In this case, they won't even let U.S. companies in the stadium. The federal government should use its purchasing power to force open new export doors for American manufacturers."
Despite being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for ten years, China prevents American and other foreign companies from bidding on Chinese government contracts through an "indigenous innovation" program. Unfortunately, the United States cannot successfully challenge this program at the World Trade Organization (WTO) until the Chinese government agrees to sign onto the Agreement of Governmental Procurement. By signing this agreement, China will be forced to end its discriminatory program, and allow American companies to bid on Chinese government contracts.
This legislation will plug loopholes in Buy American laws, which allow for the U.S. government to buy Chinese goods. It also requires the U.S. Department of Commerce to report on how China's policies are harmful to our economy and requires the U.S. Department of Energy to monitor how China is developing its renewable energy sector, which impacts American manufacturers.