China’s WTO membership has been a disaster for American workers

Washington, D.C. – The World Trade Organization (WTO) is examining China’s trade policies this week as that country marks its 20th anniversary of membership.

Opening up trade with China has been disastrous for American workers. According to an Economic Policy Institute report, at least 3.7 million U.S. jobs were lost between 2001 and 2018 because of growing trade deficits between the U.S. and China. Roughly three-fourths of those lost jobs were in manufacturing. Wages also took a big hit, as directly impacted workers saw their wages decrease by $37 billion per year between 2001 and 2011.

Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said:

“China has done very well for itself as a member of the WTO. It came at the expense of millions of American workers who lost their jobs, lost wages and fell out of the middle class.

“And while China is a member of the WTO, it has never played by the rules, and the WTO has been loathe to do anything about it.

“It is good to see the Biden administration use this opportunity to pressure China to do better. But, I continue to be skeptical that the WTO has the ability to do anything about China’s blatant disregard for global trading rules. Without major reform, I doubt anything will change.

“In the meantime, the Biden team should pursue strong trade enforcement action to stand up for American workers and businesses while working with our allies to keep the pressure on. It’s time to build back better, and when it comes to China, the next 20 years cannot be like the last 20.”