FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – A bill aimed at protecting American jobs by stepping up enforcement for existing trade rules was passed Tuesday by the House of Representatives with the help of U.S. Rep. Jim Himes of Fairfield County.
The House voted 370-39 in favor of the legislation (HR.4105) that would allow the Commerce Department to impose anti-subsidy duties on imports from nations without market economies, including China and Vietnam.
“This legislation will help the U.S. to fight illegal subsidies that distort the market and cost U.S. jobs,” Himes, D-4th District, said in a statement. “If American companies are going to grow, they must be able to export their products, and our companies and workers should not be expected to compete in an unfair trading environment purposefully created by foreign governments.”
Countervailing duties are trade import duties imposed under World Trade Organization rules, aimed at neutralizing the negative effects of illegal subsidies. Under World Trade Organization rules, countries can impose these extra duties if they find there is some kind of “material injury” to the competing domestic industry. Under the bill, such duties would not be required on imports from countries where the subsidies provided by the government cannot be identified or measured.
To date, there are 23 countervailing duty orders against products from China, plus one from Vietnam. Six investigations are ongoing against Chinese and Vietnamese products.
The Senate plans to vote positively on the measure and send it to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law, Himes said.