USW Applauds U.S. Effort to Address Chinese Export Subsidies

Contacts: Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org
                  Gary Hubbard (202) 256-8125,  ghubbard@usw.org 

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard made the following comments today after the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the United States is pursuing consultations with China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding certain export subsidies. The effort stems from a filing made by the USW in 2012 regarding Chinese export subsidies in the auto parts sector. That filing triggered a broader effort by the USTR to address export subsidies in that sector, along with several others.

“Last week’s trade statistics for 2014 showed a historic deficit with China as it continues to engage in predatory and protectionist trade practices. These efforts fuel their growth by flooding the United States with unfairly priced products, while limiting our exports to their market. Today’s action by the USTR is an important step in the effort to combat China’s export subsidies.

“Three years ago, the USW outlined a case to address Chinese export subsidies in the auto parts sector which put China on the path to export $100 billion in auto parts to the United States. This caused massive disruption and pain among thousands of USW members employed in this sector.  

“The Obama Administration called China on the carpet about their subsidies at the time of USW’s filing and China appeared to scale back in that sector. China now, however,  appears to have broadened the program to seven other industries including textiles, agriculture, apparel and footwear, specialty chemicals, medical products, hardware and building materials, light industry and advanced materials and metals including specialty steel, titanium and aluminum products.  

“The USW has members in a number of these industries whose jobs have been lost or are at risk because of China’s practices. It appears that China will stop at nothing to continue to grow its economy at our expense.

“USTR’s most recent actions are designed to address China’s ‘Demonstration Bases-Common Service Platform.’  This comprehensive program provides free and cut-rate services, cash grants and other benefits to entities that are focused on exports in 178 Demonstration Bases across China. This is a top-to-bottom program supported through 150 central and sub-central measures by the government of China.

“The Obama Administration has worked hard to get China to play by the rules. The Chinese catalog of barriers is voluminous and taking action is a slow, grueling process. But, this broad-based effort will help dismantle a web of mechanisms designed to game the system and help establish a more level playing field for hard-working Americans. ”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed among industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, plus the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/

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