Lipinski Urges Obama to Press China on Trade, Defend American Workers During Visit by President Hu (January 19, 2011)

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) issued the following statement regarding Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington and Chicago:

“America’s own interests dictate that it continue to forge a working diplomatic relationship with China, now the world’s second largest economy. President Hu’s visit this week reflects that geopolitical reality. But that does not mean that we should overlook China’s unfair trade policies – a view expressed in a bipartisan letter I helped send to President Obama last night urging him to make it clear that China’s consistent violations of international trade law will no longer be tolerated. Nor should we gloss over China’s refusal to respect individual liberty and its persistent harassment and repression of its own people.

“It is no coincidence that over the last 10 years, as China’s economy has boomed, employment in America’s manufacturing sector has plummeted by nearly a third. China’s manipulation of its currency has left it drastically undervalued, making it difficult for American manufacturers to compete in both their home and overseas markets. Allowing the free market to set the renminbi’s value would create an estimated 500,000 American jobs. As is well known, China has ignored its World Trade Organization commitments in numerous cases. It has provided illegal subsidies to its clean energy sector, dumped steel on the U.S. market, and insisted that American companies share their technology with Chinese firms in order to operate in China. Its recent decision to suspend exports of rare earth materials – which are essential for a variety of high-tech and defense products and over which it has a virtual monopoly – sets a disturbing precedent. Meanwhile, Chinese firms engage in industrial espionage against American companies, seeking to reap the benefits of their innovation without doing any of the hard work or making the necessary investment.

“Washington needs to make it clear to China that if it refuses to play by the rules, there will be consequences. The House took a step toward doing so in September when it passed, with my strong support, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act to make it easier to combat China’s currency manipulation. Congress should take up this measure again as soon as possible.

“Economic policy is not all that divides China and the United States. China continues to repress its people, imprisoning those who dare to voice dissent and going to extraordinary lengths to prevent the free circulation of ideas. Its treatment of democracy activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is but one example of the contempt it often shows for individual rights. It is important that America’s leaders continue to speak up in defense of basic democratic principles and of those courageous Chinese citizens who support and defend them at the risk of their freedom.”

(January 19, 2011)


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