WASHINGTON – Congressman Bill Owens renewed his call today for the House to pass legislation forcing China to play by the rules of fair trade to help the American private sector create jobs. Owens’ call comes on the heels of a report by the Wall Street Journal this week that detailed the People’s Bank of China guiding the Chinese currency to “its weakest level of the year.” Overall, the Wall Street Journal reports, the Yuan has fallen 1.1% against the dollar this year.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill last year that would help create approximately 1.6 million quality American jobs by cracking down on Chinese currency manipulation. Similar legislation passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly in the previous Congress by a vote of 348-79, including 99 House Republicans. The current House Republican Leadership in the 112th Congress has to date refused to bring the popular bipartisan legislation to the floor for a vote.
“Fair trade is critical to economic growth in Upstate New York, and when one country artificially deflates its currency to gain leverage in the world market, there is nothing fair about it,” Owens said. “I once again urge the Speaker to bring this legislation up for a vote as soon as possible so that it can be sent to the President’s desk. In order to create quality jobs here at home, we have to fight for a level playing field for American businesses to expand and hire.”
The Chinese government continues to intervene in world markets to suppress the value of its currency by as much as 25 to 40 percent. This unfair trade practice translates into a significant subsidy, artificially making Chinese imports into the United States cheaper and American imports to China more expensive. The resulting imbalance jeopardizes efforts to create and preserve manufacturing jobs in America.
This is the latest in a series of efforts by Congressman Owens to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation. Last year, Owens joined the launch of a discharge petition — which can force action on legislation with signatures from 218 Members of the House of Representatives – because House leadership continues to block its consideration. After House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) described a crack down on Chinese currency manipulation as ‘pretty dangerous’, Owens warned that the real danger Congress should address is the continued exporting of quality American jobs overseas in the current trade war with China.
In June, Owens cosponsored the ENFORCE Act, legislation aimed at fighting Chinese evasion of trade laws by cracking down on foreign exporters who intentionally mislabel shipments and reroute products through third-party countries in an effort to deceive American customs officials and circumvent U.S. trade laws.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimated last year that if China revalued the Yuan by 28.5%, U.S. GDP growth would support 1,631,000 U.S. jobs. If other Asian countries followed suit, a total of 2,250,000 jobs could be created. The EPI further estimates that nearly 2.8 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past decade due to the nation’s trade deficit with China.
Mark Zandi of Moody Analytics testified last year that, “nothing is more important from a macroeconomic perspective for manufacturing, then to get these currencies better aligned.”