Senators Back Off On Punitive Chinese Tariffs

Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and
Lindsey O. Graham, R-S.C., who have been sponsoring legislation that would impose a 27.5-percent
tariff on Chinese imports, have backed off that proposal and say they will seek a less punitive
course of action next year. They took the action in order to give the Bush administration time to
negotiate problems related to China’s currency exchange rate and other trade issues. Many US
manufacturers, including those of textiles, say China’s refusal to raise the value of its yuan
against the dollar amounts to an unfair trade subsidy that is forcing plants to close and wiping
out hundreds of thousands of jobs.

While the senators did not say specifically what approach their new legislation would take,
it is likely to be something along the lines of legislation already introduced in the House and
Senate. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., has introduced a bill that would make manipulation of currency
actionable under US countervailing duty and anti-dumping laws. The bill is similar to one
introduced in the House by Reps. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.

The Washington-based American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) has endorsed
those bills, saying they would be a good start toward correcting what the coalition sees as a
number of problems with Chinese trade. “US manufacturing has lost nearly 3 million jobs since 2001,
and currency manipulation is one of the chief reasons why,” said AMTAC Executive Director Auggie
Tantillo. “This legislation gives some industries the right to use US trade law remedies to fight

With Congress in recess until after the November elections and planning to return for a
lame-duck session following the elections primarily to deal with appropriations, action on the
currency issue will be put off until next year.

October 3, 2006