Lawmakers call on Trump to work on behalf of American workers - WNEM TV 5

Lawmakers call on Trump to work on behalf of American workers

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President Donald Trump will hold his first summit Thursday with the President of China.

High on the agenda is North Korea’s nuclear program. The regime test-fired another missile into the Sea of Japan this week.

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner and the U.S. wants it to use that as leverage.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss trade. On the campaign trail, Trump railed against America’s trade deficit with China and threatened to impose a steep tariff on imports.

Ahead of that meeting, Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow are urging Trump to tackle troubles with Chinese steel.

In a letter to the president, they and other democrats said Chinese steel is overflowing into the U.S. marketplace and our country’s steelworkers can’t compete with it.

They want the president to address what they call “unfair trade practices.”

Read the full letter here: 

Dear President Trump,

We are writing to urge you to address Chinese steel dumping and overcapacity during your meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week. You have consistently reaffirmed your commitment to supporting steelworker jobs, and Chinese steel dumping is a major contributor to American manufacturing job loss. As senators from leading steel and iron ore producing states, we have seen firsthand how this steel dumping has displaced American steelworkers.

China produces half of the world’s steel supply and their production is heavily subsidized. A recent lawsuit filed against Chinese steel producers also raises more disturbing allegations such as illegal conspiracy to fix prices and control output and export volumes; the theft of trade secrets by industrial espionage; and the circumvention of hard won duties ordered by the International Trade Commission (ITC) and Department of Commerce by false labeling and transshipment. The impact of Chinese steel produced with these unfair methods of competition and other illegal practices has profoundly harmful impacts on our national economic health and our nation’s national security interests.

The cheap steel China produces is unfairly dumped on our shores, hurting U.S. producers. Due to the recent downturn in steel production, more than 13,600 hardworking Americans have been laid-off and the steel industry is facing billions in losses. We desperately need stronger enforcement against foreign competitors who cheat by dumping subsidized goods into the U.S. market. Congress has worked to provide the executive branch with expanded authority and additional resources necessary to increase enforcement of our trade laws. In 2016 we increased funding for trade enforcement by 10 percent and passed legislation like the ENFORCE Act that gives the executive branch additional tools to ensure that orders against those who dump cheap steel into the U.S. are fully enforced. In order to help prevent further layoffs and better assess how unfair trading practices harm American companies, Congress passed the Leveling the Playing Field Act and established a $15 million Trade Enforcement Trust Fund.

Domestic industries have filed a series of antidumping and countervailing duty cases with the United States International Trade Commission, resulting in tariffs as high as 522 percent against foreign steel companies. The Department of Commerce has significantly increased enforcement action against companies who break our trade laws. Currently, the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security are enforcing 149 antidumping and countervailing duty orders against foreign steel companies.

We hope that you will continue to strongly enforce our trade laws. In addition to building on the progress that has been made thus far, we respectfully urge you to make it clear to President Xi that Chinese steel dumping and illegal trade practices are unacceptable.

Our steelworkers and iron ore miners can compete with anyone in the world, but when foreign producers dump cheap steel in our country, it undercuts our domestic industry and puts American jobs at risk. We encourage you to build on the progress that has been made to address unprecedented global steel overcapacity and unfair trade practices.

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