USW Statement on Record U.S. Trade Deficit with China

Feb 08, 2013, 11:23 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement today on the record high U.S. trade deficit with China.

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"While Washington is paralyzed over budget deficits, it's ignoring the unacceptably high trade deficits that have forced too many workers over the cliff as their jobs have been outsourced and lost to outdated and failed trade policies. The trade policy cliff should be the real worry in Washington. The U.S. trade deficit in goods with the world was $735.7 billion last year, a minor decrease of less than 1/100th of a percent, but our trade deficit with China reached an historic high of $315 billion.

"What we need are fundamental changes in trade policy to alter the destructive path we're on. And those changes need to be coupled with swift and sure action when our trading partners break the rules. President Obama has significantly increased trade enforcement, but much, much more needs to be done and critical resources must be provided.

"Our economy and our trade rules are under attack by trading partners who want to flood our market with their unfairly subsidized and dumped products while limiting access to their markets for the products we make. They have used the World Trade Organization to impose rules on the U.S. that were never agreed to at the negotiating table. Their approach is undermining confidence in the world trade system and our government's approach. More important, it's destroying American jobs and lowering our standard of living.

"The Department of Commerce released a study[1] last year that highlighted the declining value of exports in terms of job creation. In the past 20 years, the number of jobs created through each billion dollars of exports has dropped by almost 60 percent. Too many free traders only point to exports, and it's clear that their unbalanced approach is losing steam. It's time to recognize the damage being done by unacceptably high and persistent trade deficits and resulting large job losses and the drag they place on economic growth and our recovery.

"Some particularly troubling trends are included in these numbers. First, it's clear that steel products from an array of countries are flooding our market and must be addressed. Second, China's protectionist and predatory practices such as subsidies, dumping and currency manipulation are resulting in millions of lost jobs. Third, the early results of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement have proven so far that it is a failure: Our trade deficit with that country grew by roughly 25 percent in the first year in which the agreement was in place, and Korea has moved up three places, from 16 to 13, in the rank of countries with which the U.S. has the worst trade deficit.

"It's time our government and politicians in Washington set a new course. The course we should pursue is one that views job creation as the measure of success, not high and persistent trade deficits."

[1] Jobs Supported by Exports, 1993-2011, Manufacturing and Services Economics Brief, Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, October 2012. According to the report, jobs supported by $1 billion of exports equaled 12,086 in 1993 but had dropped to 5,080 in 2011.

The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries.

CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel: 412-562-2450,

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)