China’s Dominion of the World’s Shipbuilding Capacity Threatens U.S. Economic and National Security: AAM Statement

Tags Trade with China

Washington, D.C. — The United Steelworkers on Tuesday led a coalition of labor unions in calling on the Biden administration to investigate China’s unfair trade practices in commercial shipbuilding through a Section 301 petition. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) sent a letter in support of the trade case to the Biden administration and joined the unions in denouncing Chinese-built vessels and the threat they pose to American security.

Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said: 

“The United Steelworkers and its allies in this trade case have identified a major threat to U.S. economic and national security. If we fail to rebuild America’s shipbuilding capacity, we give China an overwhelming strategic advantage with disastrous repercussions. Strong measures in response to this petition are an essential first step to rebuilding America’s maritime independence, and it’s an urgent one. The Biden administration must act now to level the playing field for our shipbuilders.”

Recent polling found: 

  • An overwhelming majority (82%) of U.S. adults agrees that China’s dominance of the global shipbuilding industry is concerning, with 32% saying it’s “very concerning.”
  • The vast majority (76%) of U.S. adults think that the use of Chinese-built drydocks to repair, maintain and retrofit U.S. Navy vessels is a threat to U.S. national security.
  • By far and away, most respondents (74%) support the U.S. government investing in the shipbuilding industry domestically, primarily to protect national security (72% support) and create more jobs (65% support).
  • The bulk of respondents (73%) agrees that “it is a matter of national security that the United States maintain the capability to build the ships and vessels to serve our commercial and military needs.”
  • A decisive majority (81%) agrees that it is important for the president to act to strengthen U.S. shipbuilding capabilities.

Morning Consult conducted nationwide polling of 2,200 U.S. adults in December on AAM’s behalf.


  • China is currently the world’s largest shipbuilder, dwarfing American shipbuilding capacity. In 2022, China built 46.59% of the world’s ships. South Korea came in second with 29.24%, and Japan in third with 17.25%. Meanwhile, the United States built a paltry 0.13%.
  • A leaked slide from the Office of Navy Intelligence revealed that China’s shipbuilding capacity is 232 times greater than the United States.