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USW praises House bill addressing China's undervaluation of currency

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United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo Gerard is praising the U.S. House for passage of the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act.

“Our USW members and working families across America will be gratified with news of today’s strong vote by the U.S. House that approved the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act as the way forward to stop the egregious behavior of China and other nations that put our manufactured goods at an unfair disadvantage with deliberate currency undervaluation,” Gerard said in a statement released on Wednesday. “This bill will give us the tools we need to address the shuttered factories and shattered dreams that currency manipulation has caused.”

“House Congressional members stood up for American workers and demonstrated a commitment to reverse years of damage to our economy by passing this important trade bill,” Gerard added. “Now it’s up to the Senate to do the same.”

The USW says that China’s undervaluation of the yuan makes its goods artificially cheap in the market. The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act would allow tariffs to be imposed on certain goods imported from a country whose currency is unfairly valued against the U.S. dollar.

Prior to Wednesday’s vote, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, spoke from the floor in favor of the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act.

“As the Chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, I would like to focus my remarks on the steel industry,” Visclosky said from the floor. “In the world of steel, China is of paramount concern. In 2009, China produced 47 percent of the world’s total output of steel, which is 567.8 million tons. This is more than double the amount that China produced in 2003. By comparison, last year the United States produced approximately 60 million tons of steel, compared with approximately 100 million tons in 2003. While multiple factors contributed to China’s unprecedented increase in production, paramount among them is China’s currency manipulation. The undervalued Yuan is perpetuating a destructive trade imbalance and costing American jobs.”

“Congress must ensure that the U.S. remains a competitive place for manufacturing investment,” Visclosky also said. “This requires the U.S. to reverse the unsustainable imbalance that has allowed other nations to adopt policies supporting excessive exports of manufactured goods to the U.S., while we export debt and manufacturing jobs. And we must take action now, as evidenced by a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, which estimates that the rising trade deficit with China will cost the U.S. over one-half of a million jobs in 2010.

After the vote, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, similarly spoke in favor of the legislation.

“In North Central Indiana, we’re fortunate to have a number of talented and innovative manufacturers, but they’re currently in an unfair fight,” Donnelly said. “The Chinese government is currently manipulating their currency so their goods are essentially on permanent sale. This is unacceptable. The bill I supported today achieves what I’ve heard from Hoosier business owners and what I’ve been advocating for in Congress: identify the currency manipulators and impose the penalties necessary to level the playing field. Given a fair fight, American manufacturers will win every time.”

 

Posted 9/30/2010

 

 

 

 

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