As the Ranking Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee that deals with trade, I have helped lead the effort to protect the American worker and our industrial base from a dangerously lopsided
trading relationship with China as well as that country's unfair business practices. I testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on May 4, 2011. I spoke to the Commissioners
about how damaging the US-China trade relationship is to the American economy and the need for serious policy changes. Additionally, I explained to the Commission how the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) would harm American economic and national security interests. In 2000, we were promised that a permanent trade agreement with China would lead to economic growth here at home. The advocates of Most Favored Nation status for China promised that we would see more jobs for Americans, free trade, and a decline in our trade deficit with China. Instead, China has abused the trading relationship, engaging in abuses ranging from currency manipulation to piracy of intellectual property. Of course, there are many pro-KORUS FTA advocates promising us growth opportunities here at home. We must remember, though, that successive U.S. administrations and the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) have had a history of vastly underestimating the negative impacts that free trade agreements have on the U.S. economy. In 1999, the USITC estimated that China's entry into the World Trade Organization would increase the U.S. trade deficit with China by only $1 billion, and have no significant impact on U.S. employment. In fact, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. trade deficit with China increased by $185 billion between 2001 (when China entered the WTO) and 2008. Some 2.4 million U.S. jobs
were displaced or lost in those seven years. As I mentioned to the U.S.-China Commission, in debates about trade agreements in the future, we should draw lessons from the experience
of making China's MFN status permanent.