Members Say We Can No Longer Tolerate Blow to American Companies and Jobs
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) joined over 80 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives in sending a strong bi-partisan message of the need for drastic changes to the economic policies of the Chinese government.
In a letter, lead by Congressman Michael Michaud (ME-2), Higgins and the others stressed the need for China to abide by international trade laws calling it, “imperative for the vitality of our nation’s economy and for the viability of American businesses.”
China artificially suppresses the value of its currency relative to the dollar, making China’s exports cheaper than they should be and making American exports to China more expensive.
Congressman Higgins noted the Western New York region alone has lost over 140,500 jobs over an 8 year period as a result of the Chinese trade deficit.
“We can’t sit back and let these policies to continue to destroy American jobs, companies and opportunities,” said Congressman Higgins. “American manufacturers and workers can compete with anyone in the world provided we are given a level playing field to work from. China made their World Trade Organization commitments and we need to hold them to it.”
“The strong, bipartisan showing on this letter illustrates that there is a broad base of support for the President demanding action from China,” said Michaud, Chairman of the House Trade Working Group. “The people we represent know that China’s trade violations have a direct impact on the U.S. economy and our ability to get ahead. We need the President to stand up for American workers and businesses. Taking action and holding China accountable for its illegal actions would be a huge step forward.”
Last September Congressman Higgins voted to approve H.R. 2378, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, a bill, cosponsored by Higgins, which would provide direct relief to U.S. businesses hurt by China’s currency devaluation policies.
Below is a copy of the letter sent by Higgins, Michaud and over 80 other members of the House:
Dear President Obama:
In your upcoming meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao, we know that you will express concerns about China’s persistent violation of international trade law. It is vital, however, to impress upon President Hu that America’s patience is near an end and that we can no longer afford to tolerate China’s disregard for the binding commitments they agreed to as part of their accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. These standards are in place to ensure that countries do not illegally advantage their economies at the expense of others, and China’s unwillingness to play by the rules is unfairly shuttering U.S. businesses and putting Americans out of work. Ten years is more than enough time for China to have implemented its WTO commitments.
Numerous economic policies in China violate their WTO commitments, and all of them harm U.S. businesses and employment. Its currency is manipulated by as much as 40 percent, and its low value helps to China to maintain its status as the world’s biggest exporter. Its paper sector benefits from illegal subsidies that have allowed the industry – which lacks natural forest reserves and a competitive advantage – to become the world’s largest paper producer. China’s green energy companies also enjoy illicit subsidies, as well as interest-free, government loans, at the direct expense of U.S. competitors. Their limit on the exportation of rare earth materials puts U.S. high-tech companies at a severe disadvantage. And widely applied technology transfer requirements mean U.S. companies doing business in China often have to share their research and development in order to operate there, only to face competition down the road from Chinese companies using the very same U.S.-developed technology.
These, alongside a long list of other WTO violations, harm our workers by putting U.S. companies out of business and impeding our economic recovery efforts. We applaud your Administration’s effort to take enforcement action on some of these violations. But the problem with China cannot be solved by a piecemeal enforcement approach. It is no coincidence that out trade deficit with China has nearly tripled since they joined the WTO. Nor is it a coincidence that employment in our manufacturing sector has declined by more than 25% in the same period. Achieving the goal of your National Export Initiative of doubling U.S. exports is impossible without addressing China’s predatory, protectionist, and illegal policies that not only limit our access to their market, but also limit our opportunities in other markets around the globe.
The USTR report issued last month on China’s WTO compliance confirms that getting China to live up to its WTO commitments is one of the “critical challenges facing the United States.” We could not agree more. Ensuring that China abides by international trade laws is imperative for the vitality of our nation’s economy and for the viability of American businesses. We believe President Hu should hear this message in no uncertain terms.