Brown Meets with Commerce Secretary on Trade Issues

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown urged Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to take measures to protect U.S. businesses and workers from unfair trade practices during a meeting with the cabinet officer Thursday.

According to information provided by the Ohio Democrat's press office, Brown specifically called on the Commerce Department to impose antidumping duties and countervailing duties on countries that unfairly dump their steel in the U.S. market; work toward eliminating an oversupply of steel in the international market; and address currency manipulators like China that threaten American jobs and competitiveness.

“Manufacturing is the backbone of the American economy, but when international trade law is not enforced, it gives foreign competitors an unfair advantage,” threatening U.S. manufacturers’ ability to compete and the jobs they support, Brown said in a statement. “The Commerce Department plays a critical role in ensuring that American workers and businesses compete on a level playing field.”

During his meeting with Pritzker, Brown called on Commerce to do everything in its power to address the oversupply of steel in the international market, an overcapacity that has led to an influx of imports into the U.S. market, putting the American industry at a competitive disadvantage and threatening Ohio jobs, he said. In advance of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development meeting this month, Brown urged Commerce to encourage countries to reduce their steel supply in order to balance the international market.

Citing Ernst & Young’s Global Steel 2014 report, Brown said the international industry would need to remove 300 million tons of steelmaking capacity to again make it sustainable. But countries like China that subsidize their industries make these reductions extremely difficult to achieve. Brown wants the OECD to develop a strategy to alleviate this issue and encourage countries with significant state participation in the steel sector to make greater progress toward reducing their overcapacity.  

Brown also urged Commerce to take immediate and necessary actions to crack down on currency manipulation in advance of the 2014 U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. He called for Commerce to support the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, his legislation which would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to American manufacturers caused when countries unfairly undervalue their currency to give their exports an unfair price advantage. The legislation would provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment.   

SOURCE: Office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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