Lipinski Says Surging Trade Deficit Offers Further Proof America Must Get Tough on China (August 12, 2010)
"The spike in America's trade deficit to nearly $50 billion in June is a reminder that we must do much, much more to support U.S. manufacturers as they seek to compete against China and other countries that refuse to play by the rules. What we saw was bad news on both fronts, as American exports fell and imports rose. We cannot allow this trend to continue. These latest figures prove yet again that we need to get tough with China over its manipulation of the value of its currency. While China recently announced it would shift to a more flexible exchange rate, the reality is that the renminbi has barely budged since then. Economists agree it's still enormously undervalued, making Chinese goods far cheaper than they would be if the playing field were level. I firmly believe American manufacturers are the best and most innovative in the world, but the fact is they're fighting with one hand tied behind their backs, through no fault of their own. It's high time we imposed duties under U.S. law against illegally subsidized Chinese goods to defend American jobs.
"There are some who will maintain that what we're seeing is inevitable, or even 'progress,' and that our economy can continue to thrive by designing and developing the goods that people want, and letting other countries produce them. But look at where that logic has gotten us – we've lost one-third of all manufacturing jobs in a decade, and the service and retail jobs those workers are left with don't pay as well or offer the same benefits as the positions they lost.
"As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, part of the reason for the increase in the trade deficit last month was increased demand for foreign-made computer products – including products such as the iPad. I find that incredibly frustrating. American innovation should be creating jobs right here at home, not overseas. Of course, business is business, and companies will do what is most profitable, as they should. But if foreign manufacturers are stealing market share from their U.S competitors, it is not because they are inherently better equipped to compete. Their advantage often stems from coordinated and focused government policymaking that far exceeds anything America is doing.
"Fortunately, there are signs Washington is finally starting to wake up to the harsh reality our manufacturers have long faced. My bipartisan National Manufacturing Strategy Act, H.R. 4692, recently passed the House, and that's a good start. It's critical that we bring together the public and the private sector to develop a national plan for revitalizing manufacturing capable of earning broad support. At the same time, we need to immediately crack down on China and any other country that engages in unfair trade practices. Every day we fail to take action is another day American workers suffer."
(August 12, 2010)