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Casey, Baldwin pressed Administration to crack down on Chinese trade cheats, stand up for American workers

WATCH: Senators joined United Steelworkers for press conference on American shipbuilding and China’s anti-competitive behavior

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) announced they successfully pushed the Biden Administration to investigate unfair trade practices by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that undercut American shipbuilding, threaten our national security, and hurt American workers. Senators Casey and Baldwin have led their colleagues in support of the United Steelworkers’ (USW) effort to press the Biden Administration to initiate a full investigation into the PRC’s unfair trade practices in the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors. Today, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai announced they are heeding that call.

“Senator Baldwin and I pushed the Biden Administration to investigate the Chinese Communist Party’s shipbuilding industry to protect the American workers and manufacturers who have already paid the price for China’s cheating in this critical sector,” said Senator Casey. “I’ll continue pressing the Administration to hold this predatory regime accountable by imposing tariffs. If we do not take on the CCP, American workers will only pay a higher cost.”

“China has been cheating the rules and it’s hurting American workers and putting our national security on the line. I am glad to see the Biden Administration heed our calls and launch this investigation to hold China accountable, helping protect America’s shipbuilding industry and American workers,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsin’s manufacturing workers keep our country safe, provide for their families, and keep our economy moving forward – and I won’t let China undermine them and jeopardize that.”

Today, Trade Representative Tai announced that USTR accepted USW’s petition and will launch an investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Public comments will be accepted through May 22, 2024, and a public hearing will take place on May 29, 2024.

In March, USW filed a petition under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to call on USTR to initiate a full investigation into the PRC’s unfair trade practices in the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors. Senators Casey and Baldwin joined USW and other labor leaders in support of the petition for a press conference and also sent a letter to Trade Representative Tai to conduct a full investigation.

Over the last 20 years, the United States has lost industrial shipbuilding capacity as a result of China’s increasingly aggressive subsidization of their shipbuilding. Chinese state-owned enterprises and other facilities in China are now capable of producing over 1,000 ocean-going vessels a year, while the United States currently produces fewer than ten. While shipbuilding capacity, suppliers, and shipyards remain vital to the U.S. economy and national security, uncompetitive trade practices have led to 25,000 domestic shipbuilding suppliers leaving the U.S. market over the past 20 years.

Senator Casey is a staunch supporter of Buy America standards, as well as legislation to develop American manufacturing capacity. In November, he sent a letter to President Biden sharing their serious concerns about potential reductions of Section 232 and 301 tariffs previously imposed on China on national security grounds. That month, he also voted against a resolution to effectively remove Buy American standards for electric vehicle (EV) chargers and force the United States to continue relying on China for products critical to the next generation of clean vehicle infrastructure. He fought to pass the Build America, Buy America Act as a part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which requires that all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in infrastructure projects are produced in the United States. Casey also fought to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which included tax credits for individuals and companies manufacturing or deploying clean energy technologies to help lower costs and secure our energy independence, as well as his provision to provide a “domestic content” bonus credit for companies that use American steel, iron, and manufactured goods.