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Baldwin, Casey Successfully Push Biden Administration to Investigate Unfair Chinese Trade Practices in Shipbuilding

In March, Senators Baldwin and Casey joined the Steelworkers to call on the Biden Administration to crack down on Chinese trade cheats, stand up for American workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bob Casey (D-PA) announced they successfully pushed the Biden Administration to investigate unfair trade practices by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that undercut American shipbuilding, threaten our national security, and hurt American workers. Senators Baldwin and Casey have led their colleagues in support of the United Steelworkers’ (USW) effort to have United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai initiate a full investigation into the PRC’s unfair trade practices in the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors. Today, the USTR announced they were heeding that call and launching an investigation into the PRC.

“China has been cheating the rules and it’s hurting American workers and putting our national security on the line. I am glad to see the Biden Administration heed our calls and launch this investigation to hold China accountable, helping protect America’s shipbuilding industry and American workers,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsin’s manufacturing workers keep our country safe, provide for their families, and keep our economy moving forward – and I won’t let China undermine them and jeopardize that.”

“Senator Baldwin and I pushed the Biden Administration to investigate the Chinese Communist Party’s shipbuilding industry to protect the American workers and manufacturers who have already paid the price for China’s cheating in this critical sector,” said Senator Casey. “I’ll continue pressing the Administration to hold this predatory regime accountable by imposing tariffs. If we do not take on the CCP, American workers will only pay a higher cost.”

Today, the Ambassador Katherine Tai announced that USTR accepted USW’s petition and are launching an investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Public comments will be accepted through May 22, 2024, and a public hearing will take place on May 29, 2024.

In March, Senators Baldwin and Casey joined USW and other labor leaders for a press conference in support of the American shipbuilding industry and to call on Trade Representative Tai to conduct a full investigation. Other unions joining the USW in filing the trade petition include the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO.

Earlier this month, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bob Casey (D-PA) announced growing support for their push for the Biden Administration to open an investigation, leading a letter of support with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Fetterman (D-PA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

Over the last 20 years, the United States has lost industrial shipbuilding capacity while the PRC’s subsidized shipbuilding has only grown. Chinese state-owned enterprises and other facilities in the PRC are now capable of producing over 1,000 ocean-going vessels a year, while the United States currently produces fewer than ten. While shipbuilding capacity, suppliers, and shipyards remain vital to the U.S. economy and national security, the PRC’s uncompetitive trade practices have led to 25,000 domestic shipbuilding suppliers leaving the U.S. market over the past 20 years.

Senator Baldwin has long championed Buy America policies to support American businesses and workers. She fought to advance her American Made Navy Act in this year’s annual defense legislation, which would ensure by 2033 any new Navy ship purchased uses 100% domestically produced materials, like propulsion systems, shipboard components, couplings, shafts, support bearings, and more. She also worked to include strong Buy America standards in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.