Legislation Levels Playing Field Against China, Passes House

Press Release

By:  Bill Owens
Date: March 6, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Today, legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives affirming the U.S. Department of Commerce's ability to apply tariffs on artificially cheap goods from China, helping to level the playing field for its unfair and manipulative trade practices. Owens is an original cosponsor of H.R 4105, which passed the House today by a vote of 368-39. Companion legislation passed the Senate with unanimous support on Monday and now only needs the President's signature to become law.

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.

"This legislation will ensure we continue to ratchet up the pressure on China to play by the rules of fair trade," Owens said. "As we continue to force non-market economies like China to value their exports fairly, we can move forward to create American manufacturing jobs and build on the five consecutive months of growth in the private sector."

On January 30th, the New York Times reported on a World Trade Organization ruling that China has distorted international trade "through dozens of export policies it maintains" for nine different industrial minerals, and has violated the rules of free trade. The 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.

Mark Zandi of Moody Analytics testified in June 2011 that, "nothing is more important from a macroeconomic perspective for manufacturing, then to get these currencies better aligned."

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.