U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that both the House and Senate have passed legislation that would save jobs in Kentucky and across the country by allowing the Department of Commerce to continue to assess duties on imports from designated non-market economies, including China and Vietnam. The measure now goes to the President for his signature.
"I heard from a number of Kentucky workers who were worried about unfair foreign trade practices and the impact they would have on their jobs here at home," McConnell said. "This measure levels the playing field for Kentucky workers and job creators and helps them compete fairly with countries like China."
Cardinal Aluminum in Louisville, Kentucky, which employs 400 workers, is one of the local companies that contacted McConnell seeking assistance. Chip Edwards, President and CEO of Cardinal Aluminum, said, "The future of our employees was at risk because of these unfair trading practices, and I appreciate Sen. McConnell for helping make this a top priority and championing this measure through Congress."
McConnell also heard from NewPage, a paper mill located in Wickliffe, Kentucky, which employees approximately 450 workers. "On behalf of NewPage and our employees at the Wickliffe mill, we appreciate the significant leadership role that Senator McConnell has taken in the passage of the legislation that will directly support our industry," said George Martin, president and CEO of NewPage. "McConnell's actions ensure that the countervailing duty law applies to non-market economy counties like China. We appreciate the efforts of all our Members to work across the aisle to get this important legislation passed in a timely manner. This was a tremendous effort on the part of U.S. manufacturing companies and the United Steel Workers."
In late 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in GPX International Tire Corp. v. United States ruled that the Department of Commerce does not have authority to assess countervailing duties on imports from what it considers non-market economies. This bipartisan legislation, introduced by McConnell and a number of other members from both parties, clarifies the intent of Congress regarding this provision.
The President is expected to sign the measure.