Congressman Owens today voiced his disappointment with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for describing a crack down on Chinese currency manipulation as "pretty dangerous." Republican House leadership has an opportunity to bring The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (H.R. 639) up for a vote, but has so far refused to do so. The bipartisan legislation overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last year by a vote of 348-79. Monday night, similar legislation passed a procedural hurdle in the United States Senate and is likely to come up for a vote.
"The real danger that Congress should be focused on is the continued exporting of quality American jobs overseas," said Owens. "It is irresponsible for Speaker Boehner to refuse to allow an up-or-down vote on bipartisan legislation that will put an end to Chinese currency manipulation, grow jobs within our borders and keep Americans employed.
"I once again urge the Speaker to address this legislation and move it to the President's desk as soon as possible. In order to create quality jobs here at home, we have to fight for a level playing field for American businesses to expand and hire."
The Chinese government continues to intervene in the markets to suppress the value of its currency 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.
The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (H.R. 639) will help American businesses by treating fundamentally undervalued currencies as a prohibited subsidy, allowing the U.S. to take action to counter this unfair trade practice.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that if China revalued the Yuan by 28.5%, U.S. GDP growth would support 1,631,000 U.S. jobs. If other Asian countries followed suit, a total of 2,250,000 jobs could be created. The EPI further estimates that nearly 2.8 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past decade due to the nation's trade deficit with China.
In July, Congressman Owens joined an effort to force a vote on bipartisan job creation legislation that would push China to play by the rules of fair trade.
"Fair trade is critical to economic growth in Upstate New York, and when one country artificially deflates its currency to gain leverage on a capitalist world market, there is nothing fair about it," Owens continued. "When America's trade partners play by the rules, we will see a recovery in American exports and American jobs."
Mark Zandi of Moody Analytics testified in June that, "nothing is more important from a macroeconomic perspective for manufacturing, then to get these currencies better aligned."