Our trade remedy laws are critical to protecting Ohio businesses and their workers from foreign competitors who cheat the rules and cheat Ohioans out of work. And we have taken important steps to reform those trade enforcement laws over the last few years.
My original Leveling the Playing Field Act – which passed in 2015 – gave American businesses new tools to fight back against unfair trade practices and it worked – leading to key wins for Ohio companies in major trade cases.
But China and our other competitors are not going to give up. They are constantly finding new ways to cheat, new ways to distort the market, and new ways to undermine the American economy.
That is why Republican Senator Tillis and I introduced our bipartisan Fighting Trade Cheats Act, which will update and strengthen our trade remedy laws and give American manufacturers the opportunity to fight back directly against bad actors that dump cheap, foreign-made goods in the United States.
Fraud has become a major problem, and we see it in two ways. First, countries that have been found guilty of breaking the law simply route their goods through other nations to avoid penalties. A Chinese company can almost entirely manufacture a product in China, route it through another country, and send it to the U.S. as an export from that country. Second, too often the shippers who import illegally-dumped goods into the United States will just change their names and ports of entry.
Unfortunately, right now there is so much cheating that Customs and Border Protection can’t always keep up. If a company is wronged, they ought to be able to take action themselves. It’s why our bill would allow private companies to use their own resources to fight back against cheating. And by increasing the fines and penalties imposed against bad actors, this bill would also help address customs fraud. We must be just as dogged and innovative as our competitors in our efforts to protect Ohio workers and Ohio jobs.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.