Congressman Reid Ribble (R-WI) joined by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), today introduced bipartisan legislation to protect American manufacturing, especially Wisconsin's paper industry, from unfair Chinese trade practices.
"Wisconsin manufacturers produce some of the highest quality products in the world, and we need to make sure that China doesn't unlawfully push them out of the marketplace. China has been cheating their way to the top with unfair trade practices and it's time to put a stop to it. This legislation will protect American businesses from being shorted in the market and make sure that China plays by the same rules as everyone else."
"American manufacturers deserve our full support in combating China's relentless pattern of international trade law violations. The simple fact is that China cheats. Chinese manufacturers aren't outcompeting Wisconsin manufacturers. Chinese manufacturers receive direct subsidies from their government to help them undercut American businesses. We've seen the result this has had on our manufacturing base. This cheating must be stopped."
The CHEATS Act (China Hurts Economic Advancement Thru Subsidies, H.R. 4071) responds to a December 19, 2011 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals that the Department of Commerce lacks the legal authority to impose countervailing duties (CVDs) on subsidized imports from countries with nonmarket economies, such as China and Vietnam. Without legislative action, the Court's ruling will take effect on March 5th, less than three weeks from now. If that happens, the U.S. will lose a powerful remedy to level the playing field and combat the harmful effects of unfairly subsidized Chinese imports. In addition, the U.S. will be forced to pay back tariffs already paid by importers - at taxpayers' expense.
The United States is already at a disadvantage because China continues to pursue national policies that violate international trade law. China's Five Year Plans for the clean energy and paper sectors, for example, have resulted in expansive, illegal subsidies to the explicit detriment of American companies. In the paper sector alone, China provided more than $33.1 billion in subsidies from 2002 to 2009 and, during that period, overtook the U.S. as the world's largest producer of paper and paper products. American companies in these and other sectors rely on countervailing duties to combat these illicit subsidies and help them keep their doors open.
The legislation would affect many major Wisconsin employers who have suffered significant job losses due to unfair Chinese competition, including Wisconsin paper manufacturers NewPage Corporation (Biron, Stevens Point, Whiting, and Wisconsin Rapids), Appleton Coated LLC (Kimberly), Felker Brothers Corp. (Marshfield), Coating Excellence International, LLC (Wrightstown), Appleton Papers Inc. (Appleton), Award Hardwood Floors (Wausau), and From the Forest (Weston). Failure to enact this legislation would remove an important tool the United States has to fight unfair Chinese trade practices affecting 230 U.S. companies in the steel, aluminum, paper, chemicals and tire industries.
Kent Willetts, Senior Vice President, Appleton, Inc.:
"We thank Representatives Baldwin and Ribble for working together across party lines to support the interests of Wisconsin manufacturers and workers. Without their work, and the legislation they have put forward, the economic interests of many Wisconsin companies could be adversely affected. It is a great day when policymakers can set aside their political differences and fight together to support hometown business and jobs."