America is a country that plays by the rules. We believe in fairness and that with hard work, we can achieve anything. Yet when it comes to international trade, America is the exception not the rule, and countries like China who break the rules are costing us jobs and hurting working Ohioans.
Recently, I was joined by representatives from local businesses and workers in testifying in front of the International Trade Commission, an organization in Washington, D.C. that holds countries who cheat accountable for their actions. I spoke out in favor of renewing actions taken previously by the commission to hold China accountable for flooding the market with a type of product called "tapered roller bearings," a product made proudly in Northeast Ohio.
I called on the International Trade Commission to renew their ruling because over 2,500 jobs in factories throughout our region are at stake. Without the protections put in place originally by the commission, dumped imports from countries like China would push the price of tapered roller bearings down to a level that would force American companies to reduce or even stop production.
When this happens, jobs are lost, factories are shuttered, and communities are torn apart. We have seen it far too often in Northeast Ohio; the consequences of good-paying manufacturing jobs leaving our state are found in every closed business and foreclosed home. They can be seen in families being forced to leave our state, leaving communities that they have been a part of for generations.
With countries like China continuing to find new ways to circumvent global trade rules at the expense of American working families, the question remains: how do we level the playing field to ensure that everyone plays by the rules, and Ohio working families get a fair chance in the global market place?
The answer is not simple, but the solutions are necessary if we are truly going to strengthen manufacturing throughout America and provide working men and women with a fair chance at the American Dream.
The answers are not simple because they require us hitting the reset button on trade; instead of passing even more unfair trade deals that have been proven to ship our jobs overseas, we need to pass legislation like the Bring Jobs Home Act, which encourages companies to bring jobs to the U.S. These trade pacts are a raw deal for Ohio families, and instead of signing more of them to only see more jobs sent overseas, we should take a fresh look at the way we trade with other nations that leaves winners and losers up to who works the hardest, not who can cheat the most.
The answers are not simple because in Washington, partisan politics have gotten in the way of common-sense legislation that can help hold accountable countries who unfairly manipulate their currency. Speaker John Boehner could bring to the House floor a bill that would punish China for manipulating its currency and give our manufacturers a fighting chance to compete; yet he refuses to do so. We could and should pass this critical legislation and send it to the president's desk.
These answers may not be simple, but as I saw at the International Trade Commission where Democrats and Republicans, business and labor came together. We can all fight as Americans in defense of the rules we live by and for the jobs that make this country great.