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Public Statements

State of the Union, Jobs and Trade

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, tonight the President will speak to America and the world in the annual State of the Union Address. I'm eager to hear his ideas about additional job creation because job creation must be America's number one priority.

Back home in northern Ohio, we are seeing manufacturing starting to pick up. In Lorain, Ohio, Republic Steel is gearing up production. In Toledo, GM Transmission and companies like BX Solutions are bringing back jobs in the transportation and logistical services industry. And across our region, the auto sector is making major investments.

The Detroit auto show just wrapped up, and there is much to be optimistic about. For one, GM is officially back on top, claiming the title as the world's largest automaker, an amazing comeback for the American automotive industry. Our resilient autoworkers brought it roaring back, even after some here would have left it for dead.

Just between 2009 and last year, the U.S. auto industry created over 75,000 new jobs. We see the impact in places like Toledo, where Chrysler is expanding production at the Jeep plant, creating thousands of new jobs. In Avon Lake, Ford is investing. And GM's hot-selling Cruze is lighting up factory floors in northern Ohio, from Toledo and Defiance to Parma and Lordstown. However, we cannot forget that countries like China want to muscle in on the U.S. auto sector. If we want to see the U.S. auto industry in a continuing state of growth, creating jobs and building our economy forward, Congress must champion fair trade.

In December, the Congressional China Commission held a hearing on China's unfair trade practices. I used that opportunity to point out exactly how the government in Beijing blocks fair trade in U.S.-made cars and trucks. When Congress ceded China permanent normal trade relations, proponents promised that U.S. products would gain real access to the Chinese market. This has not happened. Would you believe that a Jeep Grand Cherokee costs $85,000 in China? That is three times what it costs here in the United States. And why? The Chinese Government has created an elaborate system of protective tariffs meant to keep U.S.-made trucks and cars out of China.

I asked the U.S. Trade Representative in December to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing China's anticompetitive behavior. Main Street manufacturers are hard at work creating jobs along Ohio's north coast and throughout the Midwest, but it's overtime for the administration and Congress to get to work on the very real impact that the trade deficit has on lost U.S. jobs.

Economists estimate that for every billion dollars in trade deficit, we lose 15,000 jobs here. For 2011, our trade deficit with China alone will be close to $300 billion. If we do the quick, back-of-the-envelope math, this means that the U.S. ceded over 4.3 million jobs to China last year.

The entire U.S. trade deficit for 2011 is projected to reach an incredible $727 billion in the red, three quarters of a trillion. China accounts for 40 percent of it. Congress and the President must stand up for U.S. manufacturing and American jobs.

On December 15, the Chinese Government ratcheted up its attacks on our auto industry by levying an additional 21.5 percent antidumping duty and a 12.9 percent countervailing duty on top of their already unfair practices. That is why I and other Members are asking the President to take the Chinese before the World Trade Organization. We need official action to confront China's job aggression.

While the official unemployment rate is coming down here, we have a major fight to create more jobs in America.

In places like northern Ohio, there are still over 100,000 people out of work.

Greater Cleveland has over 75,000 people out of work, Toledo over 27,000, and Sandusky over 3,000. Our economy is still struggling forward. We can see how many jobs have been stamped out in not just the auto industry, but in manufacturing across our country due to unfair trade regimes. We need Congress and the executive branch to stand up and demand fairness for our companies, our workers, and our communities that are working so hard to build forward this country as our economy--our fragile economy--keeps rebounding. While it's rebounding forward, it could do a lot better with some help from the President and this Congress.

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