Biden Administration to Probe China’s Maritime Trade Practices After Push from Senators Casey and Baldwin

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Aimed at safeguarding American shipbuilding and national security, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) have successfully urged the Biden Administration to initiate an investigation into the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) maritime trade practices. The investigation, announced by United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai, focuses on allegations of unfair competition that disadvantage American workers and pose risks to national security.

Senators Casey and Baldwin have been vocal advocates for the United Steelworkers’ (USW) campaign, pressing the administration to take a closer look at China’s actions in the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors. Their efforts aim to address what they describe as the “cheating” by China that undermines American industries and compromises the country’s safety.

Senator Casey emphasized the importance of holding the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable to protect American manufacturing jobs and prevent further harm to the sector. He highlighted the necessity of imposing tariffs on China to counteract its predatory economic strategies. “If we do not take on the CCP, American workers will only pay a higher cost,” Casey remarked.

Echoing Casey’s concerns, Senator Baldwin pointed out the detrimental impact of China’s unfair trade practices on American workers and national security. She stressed the importance of the investigation in protecting the shipbuilding industry and supporting Wisconsin’s manufacturing workers, who are vital to the nation’s economy and security.

The investigation by USTR, prompted by a petition filed by USW in March under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, marks a proactive step towards addressing grievances related to China’s trade conduct. The USTR will accept public comments until May 22, 2024, and hold a public hearing on May 29, 2024, as part of the investigative process.

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This move by the Biden Administration signifies a robust response to concerns raised by labor leaders and lawmakers about the competitive pressures faced by the U.S. shipbuilding industry due to China’s practices. By investigating these issues, the U.S. aims to level the playing field for American workers and reinforce the integrity of its national security measures.

The outcome of this investigation could lead to significant policy changes, including the imposition of tariffs or other trade measures against China, aiming to rectify the alleged unfair practices. As the investigation progresses, it will be closely watched by industries and workers affected by the dynamics of international trade and competition.

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