U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement today urging the U.S. House to act on his bipartisan Currency Exchange and Oversight Reform Act, which passed the Senate in 2011 and represents the biggest bipartisan jobs bill passed that year. New figures were released yesterday showing the U.S. trade deficit growing to $42 billion in July, up 0.2 percent from June. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the trade deficit with China grew to $29.4 billion, an increase of 7.2 percent; imports from China rose 5.6 percent.
Pressure is building in Ohio for action, with Ohio House Minority Leader Armond Budish and Assistant Minority Leader Matt Szollosi circulating a letter to all Ohio House members this week seeking bipartisan support to urge congressional action on the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act. The letter follows a bipartisan, unanimously-passed Ohio House resolution urging President Obama and Congress to cite China as a currency manipulator.
"It is long overdue that the U.S. House face the facts about our trade deficit with China. The trade deficit will continue to grow and our manufacturers will continue to face an unfair playing field--unless the U.S. House gets off its hands," Brown said. "It's no secret that China's currency manipulation is contributing enormously to our growing trade deficit. Addressing China's currency manipulation is critical to our economic recovery and for job gains, and despite wide bipartisan support in the Senate for legislation that tackles this issue, the U.S. House has failed to act. Speaker Boehner should bring the Currency Exchange and Oversight Reform Act to the floor as soon as possible."
Currency manipulation is an illegal trade practice in which the Chinese government intentionally devalues its own currency against the United States dollar. This results in artificially expensive American imports to China, and artificially devalued Chinese imports to the United States. This puts Ohio and American manufacturers at a serious disadvantage, and makes it more difficult for American companies to compete against Chinese companies. Brown's bill would give the federal government stronger authority to address currency manipulation and misalignment.
According to a recent report released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the trade deficit with China cost Ohio 95,500 jobs between 2001 and 2011. As a whole, the U.S. lost more than 2.7 million jobs as a result of the U.S.-China trade deficit, of which 2.1 million--more than 75 percent--were in manufacturing. These lost manufacturing jobs account for more than half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost or displaced between 2001 and 2011, according to the report. In June 2011, EPI released a report showing that addressing Chinese currency manipulation could support the creation of 2.25 million American jobs.