Misssouri legislators seek enforcement of U.S. trade laws
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
WASHINGTON • A bipartisan alliance of Missourians in Congress told the administration of President Barack Obama on Monday to start enforcing trade laws that protect industries from unscrupulous Chinese exporters.
In letters to administration officials, five House members and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., complained that companies in Missouri and elsewhere are being harmed by the failure to enforce trade remedies designed to prevent "dumping" of Chinese goods at artificially low prices.
"As our economy struggles to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, it is incumbent upon the administration to enforce the country's trade remedy laws in order to ensure American manufacturers can compete on a level playing field," the letters read.
They were sent to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin.
Besides McCaskill, other signers of the letters were Reps. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis; Todd Akin, R-Town & Country; Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau; Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth; and Billy Long, R-Springfield.
The letters refer to cases highlighted in a recent Post-Dispatch story in which companies have gotten little or no relief despite winning high-stakes trade cases in the U.S. International Trade Commission.
In most cases, punitive tariffs on Chinese imports remain uncollected, and Customs and Border Protection has been slow to unravel schemes in which Chinese manufacturers route their goods through third countries to evade tariffs.
The letters referred to the experience of Mid Continent Nail Corp., of Poplar Bluff, which spent more than $1 million to win its case and another $75,000 afterward to hire private detectives.
Mid Continent officials contend that Customs, part of the Homeland Security Department, has failed to stem fraudulent imports of Chinese nails.
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