Submitted by Cong. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh)
WASHINGTON – Congressman Bill Owens has joined an effort to force a vote on bipartisan job creation legislation that would push China to play by the rules of fair trade. In signing a discharge petition to force a vote on The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (H.R. 639), Owens has continued his fight to provide the nation with the tools necessary to address unfair currency manipulation by the Chinese and bolster the American manufacturing industry.
“In order to create quality jobs here at home, we have to fight for a level playing field so that American businesses can create new jobs,” said Owens. “This legislation creates a level playing field after decades of manipulation by the Chinese government, which does not allow their currency to respond to the capitalist global market. This manipulation has unfairly contributed to the current state of our economy by creating a substantial imbalance of trade in favor of the Chinese, and it is well past time to put a stop to these tactics.”
Owens joined the launch of the discharge petition — which can force action on legislation with signatures from 218 Members of the House of Representatives — because the U.S. House Leadership continues to block its consideration. The legislation overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last year by a vote of 348-79 but was not considered by the Senate.
The Chinese government continues to intervene in the 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.
The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (H.R. 639) will help American businesses by treating fundamentally undervalued currencies as a prohibited subsidy, allowing the U.S. to take action to counter this unfair trade practice.
“Fair trade is critical to economic growth in Upstate New York, and when one country artificially deflates its currency to gain leverage on a capitalist world market, there is nothing fair about it,” Owens continued. “When America’s trade partners play by the rules, we will see a recovery in American exports and American jobs.”
A new report confirms that up to 2 million American jobs could be created if China and other Asian countries stopped manipulating their currency to gain an unfair advantage over American businesses and workers.
Last year, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act was supported by the Fair Currency Coalition (a coalition of industry, agriculture, and labor), Coalition of Agricultural Producers, U.S. Business and Industry Council, American Iron & Steel Institute, American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, Alliance for American Manufacturing, and National Council of Textile Organizations, AFL-CIO, United Steel Workers, and United Auto Workers.