Reposted from the Daily Media Report of the American Iron and Steel Institute.
Senators Want To Get Tough On China
The Brunswick News | October 31, 2011 | Daily Media Report
They may not agree with everything that Republicans vying for the party’s presidential nomination are saying about China, but Georgia’s two U.S. senators think it’s time for Congress to tell the Asian nation to play fair.
It’s why Republicans Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson joined Democrats in passing a bill that would require the U.S. Commerce Department to levy tariffs against China or any nation found to be manipulating its own currency.
China is accused of making it hard for American businesses to compete with its industries by manipulating its currency.
“Currency manipulation can tilt the playing field and create unfair advantages, which is why I voted for passage of the China currency bill in the Senate,” Isakson said.
Chambliss said the action, taken Oct. 11, could become an issue with China, but it’s time for the nation to demand fair competition. Right now, China’s economy is benefiting from a 4-to-1 trade imbalance with the United States.
“Closing our trade gap by stopping currency manipulation would be a significant step,” Chambliss said. “I understand that China may threaten retaliation, but we cannot allow America’s manufacturing sector to continue to suffer under unfair trade practices.”
The impact of cheap labor and industry in China on America’s economy has been among the fiery issues debated by Republican presidential candidates.
Taking the toughest stand during a debate among GOP hopefuls this month was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who said if he were president he would issue an executive order identifying China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office.
“People who’ve looked at this in the past have been played like a fiddle by the Chinese,” he said. “And the Chinese are smiling all the way to the bank, taking our currency and taking our jobs and taking a lot of our future. And I’m not willing to let that happen.”
The Senate’s action may not get anywhere. House Republicans have said they want nothing to do with it and the administration of President Barack Obama is steering clear of the bill.
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-1, considers trade an issue worth debating.
“America became the world’s largest and strongest economy by competing and winning,” Kingston said. “If China is skewing the playing field with unfair practices, that is something we need to address and something that merits attention in the (presidential) debates.
Kingston said that’s not all that must be addressed.
“We also need to address the environment for job creators here at home,” he said. “Earlier this month, the CEO of Coca-Cola said that it’s easier doing business in China than it is in America. That, in and of itself, is alarming and shows that we’ve got work to do here at home before we start looking abroad.”