Trade Cases

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Strengthen US Trade Laws

Bipartisan legislation was introduced in Congress on Wednesday to level the playing field for American workers.


The Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 would enhance US trade remedy laws to protect American workers and “combat China’s unfair, anti-free market trade practices that distort the global market,” according to a release from Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio).  

“China’s communist regime continues taking deliberate steps that are hurting American workers and our economy by dumping steel, aluminum, and other products on the global markets with no repercussions. That must end,” Johnson said in the release.

He noted that the legislation would hold China accountable for these actions by making sure US industries and the Department of Commerce have the needed tools to seek relief from China’s actions.

The legislation “combats many of China’s most egregious practices,” such as: country hopping to escape US trade remedies, Belt and Road initiative subsidies, and circumventing US law, according to the release.

American steel and manufacturing trade groups and unions applauded the decision.

“By strengthening the effectiveness of the US trade laws, this bill will help give the American public confidence that their government has every tool available to fight for a level playing field for the American steel industry and our workers,” Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, said in a statement.

Dempsey said that the bill “also addresses subsidization across borders, such as when Chinese steelmakers, through its ‘Belt and Road Initiative,’ build new export-oriented steelmaking facilities in other Asian countries.”

Likewise, Philip K. Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) said in an email to SMU that “the Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 will finally modernize our trade laws to meet China’s challenge,” adding: “It’s critical that Congress takes the initiative to tighten our trade belt to meet China’s challenge today, not down the road.”

“We strongly support the passage of this legislation and will work with legislators of both parties to ensure that America can add these critical trade tools to defend American manufacturing,” Bell said.

Representing domestic manufacturers, Alliance for American Manufacturing president Scott Paul said in a statement that, “Congress must pass the Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 if it truly aims to re-establish the United States as a manufacturing superpower and reduce the country’s dependence on China.”

And speaking for workers in the US steel industry, United Steelworkers (USW) union president Tom Conway said in a release, “It has been eight years since Congress has updated our trade laws, and Representatives Terri Sewell and Bill Johnson have introduced the Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 to provide a much-needed refresh.” 

The legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by US Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Bill Johnson, along with Reps. Frank Mrvan (D-Ind.) and Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas). In the US Senate it was introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

By Ethan Bernard,

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