By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, President Barack H. Obama signed H.R. 4105 into law. The Senate version of that bill, S. 2153, was cosponsored by Senator Jeff Sessions. The bill allows the United States Government to use the Countervailing Duty (CVD) law to respond to nations that are using unfair trade practices against American manufacturers.
Senator Jeff Sessions said, “I applaud the enactment of legislation designed to counter the unfair and even abusive trade practices by foreign competitors,” said Sessions. “This bill is a good example of how members in both parties can come together to support positive action on behalf of hardworking taxpayers. Foreign governments cannot be allowed to subsidize their companies at the expense of American workers and manufacturers. I hope to continue working with my colleagues to ensure American businesses play on a level playing field with foreign competition.”
S.2153 (H.R. 4105) was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D) from Montana and Senator John Thune (R) from South Dakota Senator Thune is the Republican Conference Chairman. S.2153 passed the Senate by unanimous consent on March the 5.
Sen. Sessions has fought against currency manipulation and other unfair trade practice. Sen. Sessions was a leading supporter of advocate of the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act (S. 1619) triggered penalties for countries that subsidize their exports by misaligning their currency.
Senator Sessions written statements said: “In December, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in GPX v. United States that the administration could not use CVD law against non-market economies (NMEs) to protect American businesses from unfair foreign government subsidies. If allowed to stand, the court’s decision would have impacted over 80 American companies and tens of thousands of workers in 38 states, including Alabama”.
Bill H.R. 4105/S 2153 was necessary to change the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act to comply with the Court of Appeals decision and ensure that these countervailing duties can still be applied to foreign imports from countries engaging in currency manipulation and other unfair trading practices.
China is often accused of manipulating its currency so that the Chine Yuan is artificially low versus the dollar. This allows China to sell more exports in the United States and makes American exports more expensive in China. Economist Paul Krugman writes that by keeping its currency artificially weak China generates a dollar surplus; this means that the Chinese government has to buy up the excess dollars.
Senator Jeff Sessions was elected to the Senate in 1996. Prior to his election Sessions served as the state of Alabama’s Attorney General and was the United States Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District for both Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush.
To read Senator Sessions statement in its entirety: