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U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Applaud President Obama’s Signing of Legislation to Level the Playing Field for American Workers

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

President Obama signed legislation today to enforce U.S. trade rights with China and level the playing field for American businesses and workers. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary John Bryson and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk issued the following statements in response to the signing of this legislation, which clarifies the Department of Commerce’s ability to apply countervailing duties (CVDs) on subsidized imports from non-market economies, including China:

“The legislation signed by President Obama today will make a real difference for thousands of workers and businesses by ensuring the Commerce Department has a critical tool to level the playing field against subsidized imports,” said Secretary Bryson. “This administration is committed to ensuring that American companies can compete—and win—in the global marketplace, and that includes protection from unfair trade subsidies. We are making progress—data released yesterday shows that jobs supported by U.S. exports increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2011—but we must keep building on this momentum to sell products proudly stamped ‘Made in America’ all around the world.”

"President Obama has committed to using every available trade enforcement tool to stand up for American workers–and this law ensures that a robust remedy is there when U.S. industries, farmers, ranchers and workers are harmed by imports of subsidized goods,” said Ambassador Kirk. “From the creation of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center, to the signing of this law, to the filing today of a new case challenging China’s unfair trade practices, the preservation of American jobs through strong trade enforcement continues to be a top priority for the Obama Administration as it has been from day one. We intend to ensure that our nation's producers and workers have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with all of our trading partners.”

In December 2011, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) found, in GPX v. United States, that U.S. law prohibits the Department of Commerce from applying CVDs to non-market economies, including China. This legislation overturns that deeply flawed decision.