Reps. Sewell, Johnson Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Level the Playing Field for American Workers
December 2, 2021
Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (AL-07) and Bill Johnson (OH-06) introduced bipartisan legislation to level the playing field for American workers. The Level the Playing Field Act 2.0 would strengthen U.S. trade remedy laws to protect American workers and combat China’s unfair, anti-free market trade practices that distort the global market.
“Protecting American workers and countering China’s unfair trade practices must be central pillars of U.S. trade policy,” said Rep. Sewell. “My Level the Playing Field Act 2.0 will support America’s workers by strengthening our trade remedy laws and promoting fair competition by pushing back against China’s egregious efforts to manipulate the global market in their favor. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Congressman Bill Johnson and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to give it their full support!”
“For far too long, China and its communist regime have taken deliberate steps to hurt American workers and the American economy by dumping steel, aluminum, and other products on the global markets with no repercussions. That must end,” said Rep. Bill Johnson, lead Republican co-sponsor. “This bipartisan legislation will hold China accountable for these actions by ensuring that U.S. industries and the Department of Commerce have the tools needed to seek relief from China’s actions. A robust domestic steel and aluminum industry is critical to repairing America’s aging infrastructure and creating American jobs, the American economy, and American national security. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure this bipartisan bill becomes law.”
The bill is designed to combat many of China’s most egregious practices, such as:
- Country Hopping to Escape U.S. Trade Remedies - After all the work of winning an anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) case, relief can be temporary as foreign producers move their factories to other countries to evade the AD/CVD orders. Title I of this legislation creates a new successive AD/CVD investigation to combat repeat offenders by making it easier for petitioners to bring new cases when production moves to another country. Title II outlines expedited timelines for successive investigations and factors for the International Trade Commission to consider about the relationship between recently completed trade cases and successive trade cases for the same imported product.
- Belt and Road Initiative Subsidies - Currently, the Department of Commerce can only consider subsidies provided by the government under investigation. However, with the expansion of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, China is beginning to subsidize production in countries outside of China. Section 201 of this legislation would give Commerce the authority to apply CVD law to subsidies provided by a government to a company operating in a different country.
- Circumventing U.S. Law - Section 301 of this legislation imposes statutory requirements for anti-circumvention inquiries to clarify the process and timeline. It also specifies the deadlines for preliminary and final determinations, which currently lack statutory deadlines.
The Level the Playing Field Act 2.0 enjoys strong support from the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the United Steelworkers, and steel manufacturers in Alabama.
“This legislation will strengthen the effectiveness of the U.S. trade laws and will give American workers the confidence that their government has every potential tool available to fight for a level playing field against foreign competitors that seek to cheat the system,” said Kevin Dempsey, President and CEO of AISI. “The domestic steel industry appreciates the leadership of Congresswoman Sewell in introducing this critical legislation, which is a companion piece to the bipartisan measure introduced earlier this year by Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. We urge both Republicans and Democrats to support this crucial bill.”
Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
The Level the Playing Field Act 2.0 can be found here.