Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) took action this week to stop China's unfair trade practices that continue to hurt American workers. Today, the House of Representatives passed the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act by a vote of 348-79, originally cosponsored by Hare that will force currency manipulators like China to play by the rules. Further, on Tuesday, Hare joined House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) in leading over 180 Members of Congress in a letter to President Obama in support of a petition filed by the United Steelworkers against China's unfair trade practices in their green energy sector. Click here for a copy of the letter.
"China intentionally keeps their currency artificially low in order to gain a competitive advantage in the global marketplace," Hare said. "This makes Chinese imports cheaper than they actually are, making American goods more expensive in the process. This kills manufacturing jobs, including many in the 17th District. This legislation will help correct this problem and the United Steelworkers' petition will send a clear message to the Chinese government that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices.
The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act will require the U.S. government to determine if a trade partner's currency is fundamentally over or undervalued, and then enforce a duty or tariff to offset the effects of unfair trade.
The letter to President Obama, initiated by Hare and Levin, asks the Administration to take action on a petition filed by the United Steelworkers under Section 301 of the Trade Act to counter China's unfair trade practices and increase the global competitiveness of America's green technology industry. The USW's Section 301 petition lists more than eighty Chinese regulations that allow its green industries to prosper at the expense of their American counterparts. China has not been living up to the promises it made when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and the Steelworkers' petition makes this very clear.
"China's practices in this sector are designed to protect and promote its domestic industries at the expense of U.S. jobs, commerce and know how," said Chairman Levin. "These practices, combined with Chinese currency policy and other predatory practices, are already taking a heavy toll on the U.S. green economy and U.S. trade balances. We strongly support the Steelworkers Section 301 petition and urge the Administration to devote the necessary resources to USTR to address these and other unfair trade practices."
"According to studies by the Economic Policy Institute and the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the increasing trade deficit with China has cost us 2.3 million jobs across the U.S. including 4,400 in the 17th District alone," Hare said. "As we look to continue rebuilding our economy for future generations, we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to trade practices that hurt American workers and competitiveness.
Hare has been a leading advocate for fair trade policies in Congress. He is an active member of the House Trade Working Group which pushes forward-looking trade policy that protects American workers and levels the global playing field.