Win the Battle, Lose the War: Do our trade laws get enforced?
Bill Lambrecht at the St. Louis Post Dispatch continues his excellent coverage of American companies taking action against illegally dumped products from China. Last week, he described companies that had won cases, only to find that overloaded customs officials are unable to prevent Chinese imports from entering the U.S. via fraudulent country of origin labeling.
Now, Lambrecht continues his investigative series about the "ongoing problems by companies that have won high-stakes trade cases in disputes with China but then encountered lax enforcement by the U.S. government."
Lambrecht interviewed two of Missouri's Congressional delegation, Reps. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO). Both are concerned that the Obama administration needs to do a "better job of enforcing trade laws that would protect Missouri companies and industries elsewhere from unfair practices by Chinese competitors."
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is looking to introduce legislation addressing customs fraud. Lambrecht says that Wyden's legislation could help cut through investigative clutter and bureacracy that currently "can take years" to aid manufacturers.
Lambrecht quotes Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Executive Director Scott Paul on why Commerce Department duties are crucially needed to help U.S. manufacturers who have proven that they have suffered due to illegal imports. Unfortunately, these rulings often come too late:
"You have to be virtually out of business or have suffered incredible harm before you can bring a successful trade case," he said.
"The White House and Commerce Department love to talk about exporting jet engines to China. But you hear very little from them about guaranteeing a level playing field for import-sensitive industries."
The U.S. needs to strongly enforce the laws on its books to address illegally dumped and subsidized imports. These law exist for a reason.
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