Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) joined more than 80 of her colleagues in a bipartisan letter urging the Obama Administration to discuss China's unfair trade practices during President Hu's visit to Washington, D.C. this week.
"China's trade violations have cost our workers and businesses jobs and opportunities and must not be allowed to continue," said Rep. Sutton. "Our workers will compete with anyone on a level playing field, but we expect the rules to be fair and enforced. We will not stand idly by and watch workers continue to lose their jobs and families continue to suffer because of abusive trade practices."
Rep. Sutton testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission on China's illegal dumping of seamless pipe, voted to end China's abusive currency manipulation and sent a letter to the administration urging an investigation into China's unfair trade practices in green technologies.
The text of the letter is below.
January 18, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama:
In your upcoming meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao, we know that you will express concerns about China's persistent violation of international trade law. It is vital, however, to impress upon President Hu that America's patience is near an end and that we can no longer afford to tolerate China's disregard for the binding commitments they agreed to as part of their accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. These standards are in place to ensure that countries do not illegally advantage their economies at the expense of others, and China's unwillingness to play by the rules is unfairly shuttering U.S. businesses and putting Americans out of work. Ten years is more than enough time for China to have implemented its WTO commitments.
Numerous economic policies in China violate their WTO commitments, and all of them harm U.S. businesses and employment. Its currency is manipulated by as much as 40 percent, and its low value helps China to maintain its status as the world's biggest exporter. Its paper sector benefits from illegal subsidies that have allowed the industry - which lacks natural forest reserves and a competitive advantage - to become the world's largest paper producer. China's green energy companies also enjoy illicit subsidies, as well as interest-free, government loans, at the direct expense of U.S. competitors. Their limit on the exportation of rare earth materials puts U.S. high-tech companies at a severe disadvantage. And widely applied technology transfer requirements mean U.S. companies doing business in China often have to share their research and development in order to operate there, only to face competition down the road from Chinese companies using the very same U.S.-developed technology.
These, alongside a long list of other WTO violations, harm our workers by putting U.S. companies out of business and impeding our economic recovery efforts. We applaud your Administration's effort to take enforcement action on some of these violations. But the problem with China cannot be solved by a piecemeal enforcement approach. It is no coincidence that out trade deficit with China has nearly tripled since they joined the WTO. Nor is it a coincidence that employment in our manufacturing sector has declined by more than 25% in the same period. Achieving the goal of your National Export Initiative of doubling U.S. exports is impossible without addressing China's predatory, protectionist, and illegal policies that not only limit our access to their market, but also limit our opportunities in other markets around the globe.
The USTR report issued last month on China's WTO compliance confirms that getting China to live up to its WTO commitments is one of the "critical challenges facing the United States." We could not agree more. Ensuring that China abides by international trade laws is imperative for the vitality of our nation's economy and for the viability of American businesses. We believe President Hu should hear this message in no uncertain terms.
Michael H. Michaud
Shelley Moore Capito
Mike Rogers (AL)