"Without an aggressive approach to addressing the Chinese subsidies outlined in this new report, this unlevel playing field could jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs," he said.
Senator Brown said it's tough to get American manufacturers to speak out because many have plants in China or sell products in China, and they fear retaliation by the government there.
'China is cheating'
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) was recently appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to the Congressional Executive Commission on China. Miss Kaptur said China doesn't play by the rules and that was why she opposed normalized trade relations with China in 1998.
"China is cheating. They're cheating in autos, in auto parts, and steel, and they're not abiding by world trade laws. A Jeep Cherokee in China costs $85,000 -- three times as much as in the United States. They put on all kinds of tariffs, anti-dumping tariffs, and 59 kinds of regulations that make our products uncompetitive," Miss Kaptur said.
One of her proposed solutions is to create a more professional corps of trade negotiators for the United States who would have the same status and tenure as the diplomatic corps.
She has introduced House Resolution 1717 to require the President to take action to reduce the trade deficit with any country where the United States has had a trade deficit of $10 billion or more for three consecutive years. Miss Kaptur noted that the bill isn't focused just on China.
Christine Mangi, a spokesman for Senator Portman, said he "has a long record of standing up for Ohio manufacturers against unfair trade practices and believes the Obama Administration should label China as a currency manipulator."
Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, also known as "Joe the Plumber," who is running for the 9th Congressional District seat now held by Miss Kaptur, said he'd vote to abolish trade agreements that cost Americans their jobs.
"That's one of the things I want to look at, trade agreements that have hurt the American worker," Mr. Wurzelbacher said. He said he believes in free trade, up to a point.
"Our job as Americans is not to go out and build other economies at the expense of the American people," he said.
A negative effect
Angela Zimmann of Springfield Township, a Democrat running for the 5th Congressional District seat, said she is "completely" on the side of American manufacturing and said U.S. policy is far too lax in allowing cheap foreign products to undercut American-made products and American jobs.
"The U.S. government has to put a stop to this unsustainable manipulation of currency. The government [of China] is subsidizing these auto-parts manufacturers and it's a false system. In the meantime people are going to lose jobs and it's going to have a negative effect on our economy," said Ms. Zimmann, a Lutheran minister and university English instructor. "We should not allow products in that are not in compliance with trade laws and allow them to sell them at lower prices -- thereby diminishing our ability to make products here."
Her opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) refused requests from The Blade for an interview on this subject. Mr. Latta's district has one of the highest concentrations of manufacturing in Ohio and in the country and has suffered greatly in manufacturing job losses.
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