Owens Continues Fight Against China's Unfair Trade Practices

Statement

By:  Bill Owens
Date: Feb. 2, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Bill Owens renewed his call today for China to play by the rules of fair trade so America can create jobs. Owens' call comes on the heels of an order from the World Trade Organization that China must drop its export taxes and quotas on the sale of industrial minerals, which puts American workers and businesses at a disadvantage.

On January 30th, the New York Times reported on the WTO's ruling that China distorted international trade "through dozens of export policies it maintains" for nine different industrial minerals and violated the rules of free trade. Monday's ruling exposed the latest in a series of trade manipulations by the Chinese government that Owens has been pushing the House of Representatives to respond to legislatively for more than a year.

"This system of distorting the international market is just another example of how China unfairly trades with not only the United States, but the rest of the world," said Owens. "If Washington is going to get serious about returning jobs to the United States, it is critical the Chinese government be compelled to play by the rules. Those who believe we cannot afford to "upset' China are failing to recognize that they are taking advantage of us at every turn, and at every opportunity."

Legislation cracking down on China's currency manipulation and unfair trade practices has already passed the Senate, and only needs approval from the U.S. House of Representatives to go to the President's desk before becoming law. Similar legislation passed the House in 2010 overwhelmingly by a vote of 348-79. Among those supporting the near-identical legislation in 2010 included 99 House Republicans, a majority of the party's conference at the time.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that if China revalued the Yuan by 28.5%, U.S. GDP growth would support 1.6 million U.S. jobs. If other Asian countries followed suit, a total of 2.2 million jobs could be created. The EPI study 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.

The Chinese government continues to intervene in world 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.