Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. voted today to take another step toward leveling the playing field between the United States and China, passing a bill in the House of Representatives to compel China to stop manipulating its currency, the yuan.
"China has been cheating and winning," Dr. Kagen said. "This is not only my opinion; it was the official ruling of the International Trade Commission when they found that China was cheating by dumping their illegal paper into our domestic market, in effect stealing our paper jobs and the livelihoods of thousands of American families."
Dr. Kagen has been pursuing action against unfair and illegal trade practices since 2006.
"I will continue to demand that Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner use their authority to immediately push back on China's unfair currency manipulation," Kagen added. "The survival of our middle class depends upon taking bold actions now -- not next year."
Two weeks ago, Dr. Kagen testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) on the subject of illegal Chinese paper dumping in a case brought forward by Appleton Coated Paper, citing the impact on Northeast Wisconsin's papermaking industry. Kagen read the letter of constituent Tony Swanningson, who described hardships borne by his Kaukauna family and families across the region.
"I testified in two ITC trials on behalf of our Wisconsin paper workers, and this week I am doing even more," Kagen emphasized.
"During the past decade, China has been developing its own middle class -- at our middle class' expense -- by manipulating the value of its currency, polluting our planet's air and water, paying workers 82 cents per hour and offering no social safety nets as we do here in America, like Social Security and Medicare," Kagen said.
"This action will not by itself bring back the jobs that have been stolen, but it will begin the process of balancing our trade deals with China and other Asian nations. Tony Swanningson put it best in his personal letter to me:
"In 2009 I lost my job - through no fault of my own and through no fault of my company, Appleton Coated. My job was stolen because somebody broke the law and that's not right. This kind of cheating hurts people like me and my family. It hurts the production workers on the floor and it hurts our managers too.'"