U.S. Senators Baldwin and Franken Introduce Trade Bill Amendment to Level the Playing Field for American Manufacturers

Amendment ensures enforcement of existing trade laws and takes on unfair, foreign trade practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced an amendment to the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 to ensure American manufacturers and their workers are able to compete on a level playing field. The amendment allows the United States to continue to enforce existing trade laws, including trade remedies that allow for anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports that are unfairly subsidized or dumped in domestic markets.

“Whether it’s making paper products, diesel engines or shipping containers, when Wisconsin manufacturers compete on a level playing field, more often than not, they win,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsin manufacturers are under constant threat from foreign companies that play by a different set of rules. Any new trade agreement should protect manufacturers in our state and around the country by supporting strict enforcement on unfair trade practices.”

"When trade is done right, it can benefit workers, communities, and businesses, and it can help Minnesota and the rest of the country remain competitive in an increasingly global economy,” said Senator Franken. “In Minnesota, I’ve seen firsthand the damage that happens when we don’t have—and just as importantly, can’t enforce—strong trade protections. In the last few months alone, we’ve seen what happens when other countries unfairly dump their goods here—nearly 1,000 Minnesotans are going to lose their jobs. Our provision stands up for American manufacturers by putting in place and enforcing fair trade practices.”

United States manufacturing has suffered financial losses and lost thousands of jobs as a result of persistent patterns of unfair trade across all segments of the sector. American manufacturers fight an uphill battle to keep their prices competitive as international companies sell goods in the Unites States at subsidized prices. The enforcement of anti-dumping trade laws ensures American manufacturers compete on a level playing field by preventing unfairly traded imports from blocking American businesses from establishing a viable footing in the marketplace. Senators Baldwin and Franken also introduced an additional amendment to the trade bill that would oppose attempts to weaken anti-dumping trade laws.

Senator Baldwin has stood up for our Made In Wisconsin economy and Wisconsin manufacturers throughout her time in the Senate. Senator Baldwin testified on behalf of Wisconsin manufacturer Appvion of Appleton in front of the International Trade Commission (ITC) to bring attention to important trade matters and an anti-dumping investigation. Senator Baldwin also testified in front of the ITC on behalf of Felker Brothers of Marshfield to highlight challenges that Felker and Wisconsin steel manufacturers have faced from unfairly traded imports.

Senator Franken has been at the forefront of making sure that Minnesota is being well-represented in trade agreements between the U.S. and its international partners. With the Senate currently debating a large trade package, he is planning to introduce key amendments to support workers and businesses at home, and he is also supporting legislative efforts to level the playing field for American workers by strengthening our trade laws. Earlier this spring, when U.S. Steel plants in Minnesota begun laying off workers as a result of unfair foreign trade practices, Senator Franken took a leading role in calling for action against those illegal practices. In addition, he pressed for more support to help the affected workers and their families.