Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says it’s time to get tough with countries that flout international trade rules.
She’s pushing a three-part legislative package, the American Competitiveness Plan, that aims to crack down on those countries.
Stabenow singles out China as the worst offender when it comes to manipulating international trade rules to its advantage. But the U.S. government has generally been reluctant to take action.
Stabenow says the time to act is now. She says one of the biggest issues is currency manipulation—China intentionally deflating the value of its currency to keep exports artificially cheap.
“It’s very important that we send a loud message to China and any other country that is manipulating their currency that it is illegal, it is unfair, and it needs to stop.”
The United States also has the smallest trade enforcement office of any developed country. Stabenow says that needs to change, and proposes creating the job of trade prosecutor to go after alleged trade law violations.
“It’s time to make sure we have somebody whose job it is to focus 100% of their time on enforcing trade agreements, again to level the playing field to create the ability for our companies and our workers to be able to compete successfully in a global economy.”
The third proposed would increase efforts to prevent, and punish, intellectual property theft.
Stabenow says Senate is slated to vote on the currency manipulation bill—which is opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other lawmakers--as Monday evening.