The Amendment Would Stop China from Being Designated Unilaterally as “Market Economy”

Today, U.S. Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced a new measure that would protect Congress’s role to define China’s economy as market-based or non-market-based so as to retain tools to protect workers and businesses in Nebraska, Minnesota, and across the country by helping to keep China’s unscrupulous trade practices in check.

China is currently classified as a “non-market economy”—meaning that the government closely controls the economy, and prices don’t accurately reflect their true values. And because China isclassified as a non-market economy, the U.S. is able to take additional steps to more accurately impose anti-dumping duties for commodities like steel and timber.

Right now, China is pushing trade officials in the U.S. and abroad to grant it “market economy” status. Currently, this change can be done by the by the executive branch alone without a vote by the American people’s representatives in Congress. If China’s request is approved by the Administration, which could happen by the end of 2016, Americans could lose important trade protections. 

The Senators’ legislation proposes a simple, yet effective step to support fair trade practices: The U.S. Commerce Department could not use any taxpayer resources to unilaterally grant market-economy status to China. By doing that, American workers, communities, and industries would be protected from China’s non-market economy.  

“Current law provides tools for our country to check unfair practices by China,” said Sen. Sasse. “But current law allows these tools to be changed anytime by the President, unilaterally. This amendment will ensure that free trade benefits Americans and lets Congress decide if China has a functioning market. Democrats and Republicans should be able to come together to take this small step to restore the Constitutional balance between Congress and the President.”

“When it comes to producing iron ore and steel, Minnesota’s Iron Rangers know that they can compete with anybody in the world on a level-playing field,” said Sen. Franken. “But when China manipulates its trade economy, it undercuts American producers and threatens our workers, communities, and industries. Granting China ‘market economy’ status would potentially harm regions like Northern Minnesota and would also make it more difficult to crack down on unfair trade practices. Our workers deserve better, which is why we need to pass this amendment to help us keep China’s trade practices in check.”  

You can read the amendment by clicking here