Obama, Clinton Vow to 'Get Tough with China' and Enforce Trade Laws at Manufacturing Forum

Candidates address growing concerns about swelling U.S.-China trade

deficit that has cost Pennsylvania workers 78,000 jobs since 2001, 1.8

million jobs nationwide

Apr 14, 2008, 01:00 ET from Alliance for American Manufacturing

    PITTSBURGH, April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Democratic Presidential
 Candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama vowed to hold China and other
 offending countries accountable for unfair trade practices that
 disadvantage U.S. workers and manufacturers at a candidate forum this
 morning in Pittsburgh. Senator John McCain was invited but unable to
     The forum was sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing
 (AAM), a non-partisan, non-profit labor-management coalition of the United
 Steelworkers and the nation's leading manufacturers forged to strengthen
 manufacturing in America.
     "Today, voters demanded that their presidential candidates get tough on
 China," said AAM Executive Director Scott Paul. "And while the candidates
 at today's forum made strong commitments on trade, we must ensure that
 their promises become policies that enforce our laws against unfair trade
 and defend our workers and domestic industries."
     The candidates appeared separately. Each spoke for 20 minutes on trade
 and manufacturing issues before fielding several questions from the diverse
 audience of over 1,600 union workers, manufacturers, and local elected
 officials. AAM principals and partners also addressed the crowd, including
 United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard, United States
 Steel Corporation Senior Vice President Terrence Straub, Allegheny
 Technologies Chief Executive Patrick Hassey and AK Steel Chief Executive
 Jim Wainscott.
     "China must stop manipulating its currency because it's not fair to
 American manufacturers, it's not fair to you, and we are going to change it
 when I am President," said Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in his remarks to forum
 attendees, where he also criticized trade agreements like NAFTA. He pledged
 to "fight for manufacturing, modernize the steel industry, strengthen our
 manufacturing base, and have a manufacturing policy to open as many markets
 as we can for American workers."
     "I'm calling for changing our laws to send China a message," said Sen.
 Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who outlined her trade agenda to the audience and
 highlighted national security concerns related to unfair trade. "If you
 subsidize your exports and hurt our manufacturers, you'll pay a price." She
 argued that "you cannot be a strong nation without a strong manufacturing
     The candidate forum is part of a larger effort by AAM to highlight the
 impact that China's unfair trade practices have had on American workers and
 manufacturers. AAM has called for stronger enforcement of U.S. trade law
 and last week launched a statewide advertisement and grassroots campaign
 entitled, "China Cheats. Pennsylvania Loses." A PDF of the ad is posted at:
     AAM Executive Director Scott Paul applauded the candidates for their
 willingness to engage on the issues before a largely Pennsylvania audience
 one week before that state's Democratic primary election. "Senators Obama
 and Clinton faced an audience who believe that jobs and manufacturing
 issues are at the heart of this election and they were gratefully
     AAM has also launched CandidateWatch
 (http://candidatewatch.manufacturethis.org/), a website that tracks what
 the Presidential candidates are saying, or not saying, about their plans to
 stop China from cheating on trade agreements.
     The damaging effects of unfair trade are clear across the state. AAM's
 analysis of Economic Policy Institute data found that Pennsylvania lost
 78,200 jobs from 2001-2006 (all sectors) as a result of the U.S. trade
 deficit with China [source: EPI, 'Costly Trade with China'], for an average
 of 15,640 lost jobs per year. Using an identical analysis, AAM found that
 Pennsylvania lost 44,173 jobs from 1993-2004 (all sectors) as a result of
 NAFTA, for an average of 4,016 jobs lost per year [source: EPI, 'Revisiting
     "If the presidential candidates want to save Pennsylvania jobs, they
 should commit to fighting China's illegal trade practices such as dumping,
 subsidies, and currency manipulation," said Paul, noting that the U.S.
 racked up record annual trade deficits in 2007 with both China ($256
 billion) and its NAFTA partners ($138 billion). "We can no longer allow
 China to chip away at the foundation of America."
     A state-by-state breakout of U.S. jobs lost to China is available at:
     TEXT OF AD:
     China Cheats. Pennsylvania Loses.
     Demand that the candidates put a stop to the cheating by enforcing our
 laws against unfair trade.
     Pennsylvania has lost 207,400 manufacturing jobs since 2000. Why?
 Because too many in Washington are unwilling to enforce our laws against
 unfair trade, allowing countries like China to cheat, and putting U.S.
 workers and manufacturers at a disadvantage. Want proof? Our soaring $256
 billion annual trade deficit with China has cost Pennsylvania alone more
 than 78,000 jobs and more than 1.8 million jobs nationwide.
     We need a President and a Congress who will stand up to China. Until
 then, China will continue to illegally subsidize their industries, keep the
 value of their currency low, dump their products in the U.S. and steal our
 jobs. Don't let them get away with it.
     The non-partisan, non-profit Alliance for American Manufacturing is a
 labor-management partnership between the United Steelworkers and major
 manufacturers, including Pennsylvania-based United States Steel Corporation
 and Allegheny Technologies.

SOURCE Alliance for American Manufacturing