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The USW Commends Congressional Members Calling for Action on Chinese Auto Parts Trade Barriers

 

PITTSBURGH, March 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) said today that workers across America's auto parts sector continue to be threatened by unfairly traded auto parts imports from China and its policies that exclude our products from their markets.  The USW lauds the 188 members of Congress who signed the Congressional letter, demonstrating broad political support behind intentions to stop China's protectionist, predatory and illegal trade practices.

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"This letter sends a strong message to China," said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. "It needs to start playing by the rules it agreed to abide by when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) more than a decade ago."

A copy of the Congressional letter can be accessed at:  http://assets.usw.org/releases/Auto-Parts-Letter-03.16.12-FINAL.PDF. A list of the signers can be accessed here: http://assets.usw.org/releases/Auto-Parts-Letter-Signers.pdf.

Since 2000, Chinese exports of auto parts to the United States have skyrocketed nearly 900 percent.  Last year, the trade deficit in auto parts was $11 billion, continuing a growth of more than 25 percent per year. Left unchecked, the trade deficit with China in auto parts alone will top $100 billion by 2020.  China's trade practices have contributed to the loss of more than 400,000 jobs in the auto parts sector and, according to the Economic Policy Institute, roughly 1.6 million more are in jeopardy.

"As in so many other areas, China has an industrial policy designed to advance its own interests at the expense of others," said Gerard. America was limited to exporting only about $1 billion last year in auto parts to China. Despite Chinese consumers buying 18 million vehicles last year, America's producers were only able to export about 100,000 vehicles into that market.

"China apparently wants to drive its auto parts industry down a one-way street straight into our market, and that's not fair trade by any definition," added Gerard.

The Congressional letter encourages Presidential action against Chinese predatory trade practices in this sector to be one of the 'first and highest priorities' of his Administration's recently created Interagency Trade Enforcement Center.   This effort, unlike any that have taken place in recent memory, asks the Administration to further investigate the barriers that China has adopted and initiate appropriate action to level the playing field.  

Most trade cases are filed by the private sector after enormous injury has occurred.  China's practices in this sector have already caused harm, but the goal is also to alter its policies before the complete decimation of our domestic industry.  "In these critical economic times, we must take every appropriate action to address unfair trade practices by foreign countries," said Gerard.

This letter follows action by the United Steelworkers (USW) and others to identify broad sets of practices utilized by China to protect its auto parts sector to the disadvantage of its competitors.   The Congressional letter ratifies USW concerns and calls for immediate action.

"The Steelworkers are deeply appreciative of those Members of Congress at the forefront of this effort," said Gerard. "Fighting for American jobs is always the right thing to do."

The USW represents about 850,000 working men and women in the United States and Canada in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glass making to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber and other manufacturing environments, to the public sector, service and health care industries. For more information, go to www.usw.org/.

CONTACT: Wayne Ranick, 412-562-2444; 412-901-8442; wranick@usw.org
Gary Hubbard, 202-778-4384; 202-256-8125; ghubbard@usw.org

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

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