FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2010
SCHUMER: HUDSON VALLEY MANUFACTURING HAS BEEN DEVASTATED BY UNFAIR CHINA CURRENCY MANIPULATION; SCHUMER TO LEAD BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD, PUT THOUSANDS BACK TO WORK
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is pushing new legislation to vigorously address China’s currency manipulation that unfairly and negatively impacts U.S. trade. If passed, the legislation would provide less flexibility to the Treasury Department when it comes to citing countries for currency manipulation. It would also impose stiff new penalties on countries that manipulate their currency, including possible tariffs on the countries’ exports and a ban on any companies from those countries receiving U.S. government contracts. Schumer discussed his legislation in the Hudson Valley today at Selux Corporation, a Highland, New York based company that sees its sales and supply chains undercut by Chinese imports that are made cheaper by currency manipulation.
“We are sending a message to the Chinese government: if you refuse to play by the same rules as everyone else, we will force you to,” Schumer said. “China’s currency manipulation would be unacceptable even in good economic times. At a time of 10 percent unemployment, we simply will not stand for it. There is no bigger step we can take to promote U.S. job creation, particularly in the manufacturing sector, than to confront China’s currency manipulation. This is not about China bashing; it’s about defending the people of New York and of the United States.”
By manipulating currency exchange rates, countries can gain an unfair advantage over U.S. manufacturers by effectively lowering the price of their exports. This hurts U.S. manufacturers forced to compete at home with artificially cheap imports. Currency manipulation also imposes a direct cost on U.S. exports, making American goods sold in China more expensive and making it more difficult for U.S. exporters to compete with artificially cheap Chinese goods around the globe. This creates an unfair trade advantage, which ultimately harms New York’s manufacturers, workers, and farmers, and contributes significantly to the U.S. trade imbalance.
Currency manipulation and the continuing trade imbalance with China has severely impacted the U.S. manufacturing sector in relation to both domestic sales and exports. The U.S. has lost over 5.3 million manufacturing jobs in the last decade. And in the last ten years, New York State has lost over 300,000 manufacturing jobs. Specifically, during the last decade in the Hudson Valley the manufacturing sector has declined by 52%, shedding approximately 51,000 jobs. In the last three years, the Ulster area manufacturing sector has shed approximately 1,000 jobs. Since the beginning of the recession, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and unemployment has been hovering around 10 percent for several months.
Schumer has long worked to pressure China to allow its currency to float. In a previous Congress, Schumer authored and passed China trade legislation, but the bill died in the House of Representatives. The legislation Schumer is discussing today, however, has 16 bipartisan cosponsors and combines several separate bills into a single, strong bill that can pass the Senate and the House.
Specifically, Schumer’s bipartisan legislation, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2010 would:
Schumer added, “The number one issue for the people of New York is jobs and bringing back our economy. Getting the Chinese government to play by the rules of our economic system would be a huge step forward towards securing our economy and the manufacturing jobs of New Yorkers. It’s vital that we get this done.”