Congressman Mark S. Critz (PA-12) renewed his call today for immediate action on H.R. 639, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, in light of a recent report that shows 101,200 Pennsylvania jobs were lost in the past decade due to our growing trade deficit with China.
According to the report, released last week by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), "Between 2001 and 2011, the trade deficit with China eliminated or displaced more than 2.7 million U.S. jobs, over 2.1 million of which (76.9 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." In Pennsylvania alone, 101,200 jobs were lost, including 4,400 in the 12th Congressional district.
"One of the principal reasons for this staggering job loss is China's undervalued currency," said Congressman Critz. "Currency manipulation, which keeps the value of foreign currencies artificially low compared to the U.S. dollar, undermines our manufacturing sector by making Chinese imports cheaper and U.S. exports more expensive."
The bipartisan Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, H.R. 639, will help American businesses compete on a more level playing field by treating fundamentally undervalued currencies as a prohibited subsidy, allowing the U.S. to take action to counter this unfair trade practice. The U.S. Senate passed legislation to address currency manipulation in October 2011, yet Republican leaders continue to block the bill from moving forward in the House of Representatives.
In July 2011, Congressman Critz filed a discharge petition that would force the House to immediately consider the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act -- and to date, the petition has 178 of the 218 signatures required to advance.
"Despite bipartisan support for legislation that will fix this trade imbalance, the House Republican Leadership refuses to move forward on currency reform," Congressman Critz added. "Every day that we put off addressing this issue, more and more American jobs are lost to countries like China. Let's stop playing political games and do what's in the best interest of American workers and businesses -- let's bring the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act to the House Floor for immediate consideration."
The Economic Policy Institute also reports that if the Chinese Yuan were revalued, U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would increase as much as $286 billion, creating up to 2.25 million American jobs and reducing the budget deficit by $71 billion per year.
"When we compete on a level playing field with China, we prove time-and-time again that American workers, American businesses and American products are the best in the world," continued Congressman Critz. "Passing currency reform legislation will level the playing field, give American workers a fair shot at manufacturing again, and create jobs all across Pennsylvania and throughout the United States."