Chris Lee supporting legislation dealing with trade imbalance with China
Rep. Chris Lee issued a statement today expressing support for bi-partisan legislation that supporters say will fix problems with currency exchange with China and help protect WNY jobs.
Lee called Chinese trade practices illegal.
The legislation is aimed at stopping Chinese manipulation of currency exchange, which may be leading to the yuan being undervalued by as much as 40 percent.
Full press release after the jump:
ROCHESTER – Congressman Chris Lee (NY-26) appeared today at Precision Grinding and Manufacturing in Rochester to announce his support for major bipartisan legislation combating illegal Chinese trade practices that have contributed to the loss of good-paying jobs in Western New York.
The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (CRFTA) of 2009 specifically takes aim at currency manipulation. A broad range of economists believe, for instance, that the Chinese yuan may be undervalued by as much as 40%. The practical impact of China intentionally lowering its currency's value is to make its goods cheaper. This means that when Chinese manufacturers export a product, they effectively receive a 40% subsidy on their exports, a nearly insurmountable advantage over U.S. producers.
“American workers can compete with anyone in the world, but free trade has to be fair in both directions,” Congressman Lee said. “The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act is an effective bipartisan solution that levels the playing field for American manufacturers and protects American jobs. It closes loopholes that allow currency manipulation to run afoul of international trade policies and gives our negotiators the tools they need to take a tougher stance on this issue without provoking a trade dispute. With our economy in crisis and our region hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs, we can no longer afford to delay action.”
The lawmaker noted during the press conference that over the course of this decade, Western New York has lost more than 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs, while our nation’s trade deficit with China has more than tripled.
Kevin Kelley, executive director of the Rochester Tooling and Machining Association (RTMA), added: “China’s manipulation of its currency continues to represent a significant threat to our region’s manufacturing jobs. We’ve seen plenty of talk on this issue, but not enough action. The legislation Congressman Lee is supporting would ensure a level playing field on which our businesses can compete in the global marketplace.”
The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act is set to be introduced in Congress this week, according to Congressman Lee, who added, “This is a smart proposal that ensures the United States remains faithful to its own international trade obligations.”