A coalition of unions, Democratic lawmakers and trade groups is putting pressure on the White House to take action against China for alleged unfair trading practices in its auto parts industry. The coalition says that the Chinese government is subsidizing its parts industry and is restricting the exportation of raw materials used by foreign auto parts makers.
Press conference held Tuesday
The coalition held a press conference Tuesday to bring attention to their position. Many lawmakers were in attendance, including Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, who is known for taking on populist causes.
Terrence Stewart, a lawyer who deals with unfair trade cases, said:
“If these policies are not stopped, by the end of the decade China could seize 50 percent or more of our auto parts market, costing hundreds of thousands of American jobs.”
Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said that Chinese auto parts imports “have surged by almost 900 percent since 2001.” He went on to say, “this begs for a trade action,” and that the coalition will convince the White House “to initiate a case or multiple cases” against Beijing.
Trade practices costs U.S. jobs
Previous studies show that Chinese imports has contributed to the loss of 400,000 jobs in the U.S. auto parts industry over the past 12 years. The other large factor in the loss is competition from Mexican auto parts makers.
In December, the Chinese government slapped punitive tariffs on more than 20 percent of large vehicles imported from the U.S. Many felt China’s move came in response to earlier U.S. action restricting many Chinese imports, including tires.
President announces crackdown
Last week, the Obama Administration announced a new initiative designed to get tougher on China and other countries that it sees as engaging in unfair trade practices. Obama has been accused by Republican critics in the past of not standing up to Beijing.
China’s Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to be the Asian nation’s next ruler, will be a guest of the White House on Feb. 14.