Reps. Sewell, Johnson Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Level the Playing Field for American Workers
June 7, 2023
Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (AL-07) and Bill Johnson (OH-06), along with Reps. Frank Mrvan and (IN-01) and Beth Van Duyne (TX-24), introduced bipartisan legislation to level the playing field for American workers. H.R. 3882, the Leveling 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. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Todd Young (R-IN).
“As a member of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, I am committed to ensuring that U.S. trade policy promotes fair competition and protects American workers against the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to manipulate the global market,” said Rep. Sewell. “Along with Congressman Bill Johnson, I am proud to be introducing the Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 which would strengthen our trade remedy laws and push back against China’s egregious and unfair trade practices. We know that if American workers are given the opportunity to compete on a fair and level playing field, they will win on the world stage!”
“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,” said Rep. Johnson. “This bipartisan legislation will hold China accountable for these actions by ensuring that U.S. industries and the Department of Commerce have needed tools to seek relief from China’s illegal actions. A robust domestic steel and aluminum industry is critical to creating American jobs, strengthening our economy, and protecting our national security. We can’t wait any longer to act. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure this bipartisan bill becomes law.”
“Thank you to Rep. Sewell for your steadfast leadership to update U.S. trade remedy laws and combat unfair trade practices,” said Rep. Mrvan. “Every effort must be taken to ensure that American workers can compete on a level playing field and thrive in our global economy. I look forward to continuing to work with all of my colleagues to advance this critical legislation to support the ability of all American workers to grow our economy and provide for our national security.”
“The Chinese Communist Party routinely ignores established trading rules and aggressively works to cheat the system in an attempt to shut American workers and manufacturers out of the global market,” said Rep. Van Duyne. “I appreciate Reps. Sewell and Johnson for their leadership on this important issue, and I look forward to continuing our bipartisan work to stand up to the CCP’s unfair trade practices.”
The Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 combats 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. 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. It also expedites 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. 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 - 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 Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 enjoys strong support from the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the United Steelworkers (USW), and steel manufacturers in Alabama.
“By strengthening the effectiveness of the U.S. 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,” said Kevin Dempsey, President and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute. “We appreciate the leadership of Representatives Johnson and Sewell in once again spearheading the fight to crack down on unfair trade and help preserve American jobs, competitiveness and cleaner American steel.”
“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,” said United Steelworkers President Tom Conway. “The legislation will make U.S. trade laws more responsive to China’s foreign investments, which then dump product into the U.S. market. The bill also improves the process for follow-up on trade investigations, meaning U.S. workers and manufacturers can quickly move to stop unfair trade, wherever it comes from. USW endorses this bill and urges the House of Representatives to move quickly to pass it.”
The Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 can be found here.