Yesterday, Congressman Bill Owens voted to support the growth of American jobs and to end currency manipulation by foreign countries like China. The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (H.R. 2378) will provide additional tools for the U.S. government to impose trade penalties against China for undervaluing its currency and provide meaningful relief to American businesses. H.R. 2378 passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by a large bipartisan majority of 348-79.
"This legislation will help to level the playing field after decades of manipulation by the Chinese government of its currency, and will assist to create American jobs," said Owens. "This manipulation has unfairly contributed to the current state of our economy by creating a substantial imbalance of trade in favor of the Chinese, and has shipped jobs overseas."
The Chinese government has intervened in world markets, causing its currency to be undervalued by as much as 25 to 40 percent. This unfair trade practice translates into a significant subsidy, artificially making Chinese imports into the United States cheaper and American imports to China more expensive. The resulting imbalance jeopardizes efforts to create and preserve manufacturing jobs in America.
"It is very important that we have free and fair trade existing in the world, but when one country artificially deflates its currency to gain leverage on a capitalist world market, there is nothing free nor fair about it," Owens continued.
H.R. 2378 allows the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose additional tariffs on Chinese imports that offset the effect of a fundamentally undervalued currency. The legislation also reverses a current Commerce Department practice that has precluded it from treating foreign currency practices as an export subsidy and directs the department how to measure the subsidy provided to foreign produces through currency undervaluation.
"For decades, Democrats and Republicans have attempted to convince China to play fair in the world markets, but no progress has been made," Owens added. "With the passage of this bill, we will have more leverage in negotiations with China and any other foreign government that uses these unfair tactics in the future. The legislation takes a "big picture' approach to remedy this situation, and we can do the same on a smaller scale by purchasing more goods produced within our borders. It has never been more critical to buy American."
H.R. 2378 is supported by the Fair Currency Coalition (a coalition of industry, agriculture, and labor), U.S. Business and Industry Council, AFL-CIO, Coalition of Agricultural Producers (including American Corn Growers & National Farmers Union), United Auto Workers, United Steel Workers, American Iron & Steel Institute, American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, Alliance for American Manufacturing, and National Council of Textile Organizations.