Growing Trade Deficits Demonstrate Need for New Policies

Contact:  Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement after the release by the Department of Commerce of annual trade data for the United States for 2015:

“Our nation’s trade deficit serves as a strong indicator of the overall effectiveness of our trade policies. With a trade deficit last year in goods of $758 billion, the obvious conclusion is that these policies are failing the country and our trade deficit has become totally unsustainable.

“Republicans often focus on our budget deficit, the largest percentage of which has been fueled by their tax cuts for the rich. They ignore the trade deficit, largely fueled by offshoring and outsourcing, as it lowers our living standards and costs American workers their jobs. Their broad support of fast track trade authority and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), policies designed to line the pockets of their Wall Street cronies, serve as obvious examples.

“China tops the list of the countries that are responsible for our increasing trade deficit.  Last year, our goods trade deficit with China skyrocketed to a record $365.7 billion, a 441 percent increase from 2001 from when China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). No longer merely toys and textiles, our deficit with China in the Advanced Technology Products sector now tops $120 billion.  China is effectively conquering America in an economic war that we are losing.

“Despite a global economic slowdown, China continues to maintain massive excess capacity in steel, aluminum, glass, rubber and other products. Their industrial policies undermine our producers and jeopardize our future, and their economic slowdown is being exported to America.  Still, our political leaders refuse to substantially address this problem or instead, look to the private sector to initiate action. They should have to face the tens of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs because of China’s unfair and predatory trade practices.

“The trade deficit directly hinders our country’s economic growth. Yet, our leaders promote more of the same rather than boldly charting a new course. No wonder voters are calling for change. This November, they should only support candidates who will reject the status quo and work to fix this broken system.”

The USW represents 850,000 members employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations. For more information: www.usw.org.

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