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April 7, 2011

U.S. Manufacturing and China's Currency Manipulation

[Page: H2331]  GPO's PDF 

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Maine (Mr. Michaud) for 5 minutes.

Mr. MICHAUD. Madam Speaker, I rise today to express my concern about the decline in U.S. manufacturing and China's currency manipulation. It is time our government responded to these issues by developing a national manufacturing strategy and bringing to the floor immediately H.R. 639, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act.

This chart here shows a significant drop in manufacturing employment in the United States. We have lost nearly 6 million manufacturing jobs in the last decade alone. At our current rate, it will take us 24 years to get back the U.S. manufacturing jobs that we have lost between the year 2000 and 2010. Just last month, a report revealed that United States manufacturing is now in second place behind China. Making things here at home is critical for our economic diversity, our national security, and just makes common sense. China's enormous growth in manufacturing has come at America's expense, and it is bad for American businesses and American jobs.

There are many reasons for our manufacturing sector's decline. I want to highlight two that the Obama administration and Congress can act upon today. First, we need to develop, adopt, and adhere to a comprehensive national manufacturing strategy. Second, we need to address China's currency manipulation and stop giving our manufacturing jobs to Beijing.

A national manufacturing strategy makes sense. Many developed economies and many of our competitors, including China, have them. If China is going to implement nationwide policies designed to boost specific sectors, so should we. Our strategy should not involve illegal trade practices like China, but it should involve clear objectives. We should ask ourselves the question, what should the American manufacturing sector look like? I believe a diverse, robust manufacturing sector is key to a strong American economy and critical to our national security.

[Time: 10:20]

The strategy should also evaluate what policy changes are needed to promote more domestic production. We should seek the input from companies that currently choose to make their products in the U.S., and we should also consider ways to incentivize U.S. production through our tax structure.

And, finally, the manufacturing strategy should establish clear metrics of success over the short, medium and long term. Our manufacturing sector has declined over the last several decades, and it won't be rebuilt overnight. But if we are going to reclaim our spot as a leader in manufacturing, we are going to have to have our own roadmap for the United States manufacturing industry.

The second thing we should do to help U.S. manufacturing is address China's currency manipulation. By devaluing the yuan, China makes their exports cheaper and U.S. imports more expensive.

This is unfair, and it creates an unlevel playing field that forces U.S. businesses to close their doors here in the United States. We cannot wait any longer to take action. Diplomacy has not worked, so we must seek legislative action.

Congress must pass the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act immediately, and President Obama must sign it. In addition, the United States should bring a WTO case against China for undervaluing its currency. We have to fight this blatant violation of trade law through every step available to do that.

China's currency manipulations put Americans out of work and force American businesses to close their doors. We must act with urgency to stop that.

I urge my colleagues to support a national manufacturing strategy and urge the House leadership to bring H.R. 639 to the floor for a vote immediately.

(House of Representatives - April 6, 2011)

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