Eight months after visiting a Jeffersonville manufacturer to locally introduce his fight against unfair trade, Sen. Evan Bayh returned to provide an update on his pending legislation.
Known as the Stopping Overseas Subsidies Act, Bayh’s proposal seeks to impose tariffs on goods imported from China, end illegal subsidies some foreign countries provide to their businesses and to enforce U.S. trade laws.
‘We have to do our part and live up to our responsibilities,’ said Bayh, D-Indiana, during a press conference at Jeffersonville’s Steel Dynamics.
Bayh claims China’s currency is artificially undervalued by as much as 40 percent, that many Chinese companies are receiving subsidies from their government including free rent and utilities and that enforcement of trade laws has fallen by 75 percent during the past four years.
Steel Dynamics plant manager Jeff Baumann said illegal foreign business practices have had a dramatic effect on domestic steel companies.
‘The steel industry is very strongly a world economy,’ he said, adding that in little more than a year steel prices have doubled and in the past four years about 30 percent of the nation’s steel companies have filed for bankruptcy and a number of them have consolidated.
Baumann said in 2001, when foreign economies were generally struggling, Chinese manufacturers flooded the U.S. with steel and caused domestic steel prices to plummet. Since last year, China’s steel manufacturers have imported as much steel as possible, causing a materials shortage and increased prices in the United States.
‘We’ve had both extremes,’ Baumann said. ‘Both of them cause problems.’