Sep 26 2003

Senate Unanimously Passes Graham Resolution on Chinese Trade Abuses

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the United States Senate unanimously approved his resolution demanding that China stop cheating in international trade. “I am pleased to see the Senate coming together in a bi-partisan fashion to address the problem of China undervaluing their currency,” said Graham. “Chinese trade abuses affect every American and will be the ruin of our domestic manufacturing industry if action is not taken soon.” Graham’s resolution calls on the Chinese to correct their currency undervaluation. Some economists estimate that the yuan is now undervalued by as much as 40 percent. The undervaluation of the yuan makes Chinese goods less expensive for foreigners, and it makes foreign products more expensive for Chinese consumers. The effective result is a significant subsidization of China's exports and a virtual tariff on foreign imports. Undervalued currency and the efforts of the Chinese government to intervene in the yuan’s value violate the rules of the World Trade Organization. “I have said for years the Chinese cheat on their trade agreements,” said Graham. “In South Carolina, we have seen the devastating impact illegal Chinese imports have on our domestic textile industry and the entire manufacturing sector.” Graham noted China’s access to the U.S. textile and apparel market more than doubled in 2002, growing by an astounding 117 percent and is up an additional 114 percent so far in 2003, according to recent numbers from the American Textile Manufacturers Institute. Since 1997, the U.S. textile industry has been forced to close more than 250 textile plants in the country. More than 200,000 U.S. textile workers have lost their jobs and five of this country’s largest textile mills including Pillowtex, Burlington Industries, CMI Industries, Galey & Lord, and Malden Mills have filed for bankruptcy. “Something has to be done to stop the Chinese from cheating on their trade agreements,” said Graham. “I hope this resolution gets their attention. I think it is an important first step.” Graham has also taken a lead role in pushing the Schumer-Bunning-Graham bill through the Senate. This legislation would impose a 27.5% tariff on all Chinese imports if they do not put an end to their currency manipulation. In addition, it would allow the President to remove sanctions once he certifies that China has moved to a market-based currency. The tariffs would kick in after a grace period of 180 days to ensure that Treasury officials have adequate time to work with the Chinese to institute reforms. “My resolution and the introduction of this bill will send a strong message to the Chinese that it is time for them to stop abusing our trade agreements,” said Graham. “If they want to be a part of the international community its time to be a responsible player and clean up their act. Until China is reigned in and starts playing by the rules, our manufacturing industry will continue to bleed jobs because of unfair Chinese trade practices.” Graham and several other Senators also circulated a letter to Senate colleagues seeking support for action against China. The letter invited members to sign a letter to President Bush urging him to initiate the China special textile safeguard and take other actions to protect American textile companies from Chinese abuses. “I will continue to fight for South Carolina’s manufacturing jobs, and to end the devastating flow of illegally subsidized and illegally shipped Chinese goods into this country,” said Graham. ####