The U.S. Senate late yesterday passed legislation cosponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow to restore America's ability to implement policies that offset the effects of other countries' illegal trade practices. In an all-too-rare display of unity on an important jobs bill, the Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent.
"When foreign countries break international trade rules and cost us jobs, America cannot sit back and do nothing," said Senator Stabenow. "Our country simply must have tools at our disposal to stand up for American businesses and workers. This bill restores our country's ability to do something about illegal trade practices and helps ensure a more level playing field."
In December, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that U.S. law did not allow countervailing duties to be used to combat illegally-subsidized goods from "non-market" countries such as China. When countries use illegal subsidies to make their goods artificially cheap and dump them in another country, international trade rules allow the offended country to impose countervailing duties to offset the effects of the subsidy in order to prevent mass business closures and lost jobs. But the December court ruling left America vulnerable, with no ability to respond when other countries attempt to illegally put American companies out of business.
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in GPX Int'l Tire Corp. v. United States found that Congress had not clearly authorized the application of countervailing duties to non-market economies such as China. The bill Senator Stabenow cosponsored changes the law to make clear that the United States does have the ability to impose duties against countries that break the law, whether they are market or non-market economies.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.