New Bipartisan Legislation Aims to Make it Tougher for China to Dodge Trade Laws

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced a new bill on Tuesday to “crack down on unfair trade cheating from nonmarket economies like China.”

O.K., we know: We need to be more specific here.

The Senators want to give the Commerce Department more power to hold China and other countries accountable when they evade anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD).

For those unfamiliar with this area of U.S. trade law, the United States issues AD/CVD duties when imported products are found to be sold below market value or to have received significant government subsidies when being produced. The idea is to level the playing field a bit for American workers and companies, who operate in a free and open market.

As the Senators note, AD/CVD rules are pretty common, and most countries follow them without issue. But nonmarket economies — especially China — work overtime to dodge these duties, engaging in “a sophisticated and government-backed effort to avoid the duties required.”

For example, China “alters their products slightly to get around the rules, violating the spirit of the law, if not the letter.” It isn’t individual Chinese companies doing this, remember: China uses “its vast government resources” to ensure these firms are able to evade U.S. trade laws and avoid the duties.

This new legislation is designed to allow the U.S. to better respond to this cheating and stand up for American workers and businesses who play by the rules. Politico reports:

“The proposed legislation would give the Commerce Department ‘additional flexibility’ when reviewing anti-circumvention petitions… The bill would allow Commerce to include any product that is interchangeable with a product that is already the subject of an anti-dumping or countervailing duty within the scope of that pre-existing order.”

There are plenty of examples out there that highlight the real-world consequences of China’s expert dodging of AV/CVD duties.

Take plywood.

The Chinese government long has subsidized plywood, and Chinese companies have dumped it into the U.S. market, priced far below market value. That hurt U.S. producers and led to layoffs.

In response, the U.S. government issued anti-dumping duties on these products, and American companies were able to hire back workers in Wisconsin, Maine, Vermont, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, and West Virginia, according to Kip Howlett, the president of the Decorative Hardwood Association.

“But China is circumventing these lawful duties, threatening to undo our progress,” Howlett added.

Click here for more on the legislation.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Members of Local 7798 achieve major goal with workplace violence policy

From the USW

Workers at Copper Country Mental Health Services in Houghton, Mich., obtained wage increases and pension improvements in their contract ratified earlier this year, but the benefit Local 7798 members were most proud of bargaining was language regarding workplace violence.

The contract committed the employer to appoint a committee, including two members of the local, to draft a workplace violence policy. Work quickly began on the policy, and just last week, the committee drafted and released its first clinical guideline focusing on responding to consumer aggression toward staff.

“We are so excited to have this go into effect,” said Unit Chair Rachelle Rodriguez of Local 7798. “This was a direct result of our last negotiating session.”

The guideline includes the definition of aggression and an outline of procedures, all of which will be reviewed yearly. And though this is just a first step in reducing the incident rates and harm of workplace violence in their workplace, it still is a big one for the local, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a collective bargaining agreement.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work