The National Association of Manufacturers on Tuesday commended U.S. Trade Representative ambassador Rob Portman for the just-released top-to-bottom review of U.S.-China trade policy and welcomed a number of policy shifts that will result from the report.
"It's an important development to have Ambassador Portman's frank acknowledgement that China's actions have contributed considerably to our bilateral trade imbalance," noted NAM president John Engler. "We need to enter a new phase in our trade relationship and hold China accountable for those actions, and Portman's statement makes this clear."
"Establishing a Chief Counsel for China Trade Enforcement is a great idea and sends a strong message to China about fully complying with its international obligations," Engler continued, referencing one of several policy initiatives contained in the report. "It also bodes well for full and transparent enforcement of U.S. trade laws. It's time for China to play by the rules, and these initiatives will strengthen the
hand of China's forward-looking trade reformers and help take our relationship in the right direction."
Engler explained that the NAM believes the new policy approach outlined by Portman, coupled with a renewed push on Chinese currency undervaluation and passage of the NAM-supported version of S. 1421 - introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) to address Chinese subsidization - could result in a more sustainable trade relationship with China.
"This is precisely what the NAM has been calling for; a relationship in which both countries benefit free of currency manipulation and subsidization," he said. "With a trade deficit of over $200 billion, we must find ways to substantially increase the sale of U.S. goods to China while dealing aggressively with unfair trading practices. Manufacturers also are pleased that Ambassador Portman is turning to the business community for advice through the Advisory Committee on Trade
Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN). No single bilateral trading relationship garners as much attention nor requires more effort than our relationship with China, so we look forward to working with USTR on these important initiatives."