Senators offer legislative remedy for unfair trade

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Senators offer legislative remedy for unfair trade

Dayton Daily News – In a bipartisan show of agreement, Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman are sponsoring a legislative fix to a court ruling that the senators say harms Ohio heavy industry subjected to unfair trade from nations such as China.

Local companies potentially affected include NewPage Corp., Appleton Paper and Hayes Lemmerz. In a December ruling, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit restricted the U.S. Commerce Department from imposing duties to fight trade practices from non-market economies such as China, where large government subsidies of industry are common.

The court ruled that because China is a non-market economy, so-called countervailing duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department on some Chinese imports are illegal. The ability to impose duties could die as early as mid-March, Brown said.

Brown, a Democrat, and Portman, a Republican, said the legislation would clarify that the Commerce Department can impose tariffs and other duties against imports with illegal export subsidies.

Brown said such duties have helped more than 16 Ohio companies compete globally. “Countervailing duties are a critical tool industries have to fight unfair trade and protect jobs. Trade remedies help protect Ohio jobs, manufacturers, and small businesses,” Brown said. Portman said that since 2007, countervailing duties have protected an estimated 80,000 jobs nationwide by targeting billions of dollars in unfair subsidies.

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