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NTA endorses China currency bill
10
Oct '11
The National Textile Association (NTA) strongly endorses S.1619, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Act of 2011. This pro-jobs, pro-growth, and pro-investment legislation is vital to nurturing America's struggling economic recovery and we urge you to vote to invoke cloture on the bipartisan measure and support its final passage.

The National Textile Association is the nation's oldest association of fabric-forming companies. Our members knit and weave fabric in the United States; supply fibers, yarns, and other materials or services to the American textile industry. The American textile industry is a world leader in innovation. Our high-tech textiles protect America's warfighters, firefighters, police, and other uniformed personnel. Our member companies compete globally with success, with many having a substantial percentage of their sales as exports.

China has used illegal subsidies and non-tariff barriers to steal U.S. textile and apparel manufacturing jobs and markets. Its blatant intervention to keep the renminbi (RMB) undervalued by 25 to 40 percent relative to the dollar is one tactic that has been especially damaging. Currency manipulation and other unfair trade tactics have enabled China to tilt the competitive playing field against America, contributing mightily to the U.S. textile and apparel manufacturing industry's loss of 654,000 jobs since 2001.

China's currency-led export subsidies have blunted the growth of U.S. textile and apparel exports. From 1991 to 2000, U.S. textile and apparel exports doubled, jumping from $10 billion in 1991 to $21 billion in 2000. But in 2001 and 2010, those respective figures were just $19 billion and $19.7 billion. Total export growth for the 2001-2010 period totaled just $757 million. In contrast, between 2001 and 2010, Chinese exports to the United States surged by $32 billion, a six-fold increase, and by more than $100 billion to the world!

S.1619 is a measured response to the currency manipulation by China and others that have destroyed so many U.S. jobs. It is World Trade Organization (WTO)-compliant and gives no grounds for retaliation. The bill clarifies the responsibility of the Commerce Department to investigate alleged currency undervaluation as a prohibited export subsidy on a case-by-case basis. This is a similar approach to the bipartisan legislation (H.R.2378) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 348 to 79 in the 111th Congress.

The positive impact of S.1619 to America's textile industry would be enormous. U.S. exports would rise and more jobs would be created. More U.S. research and development would be encouraged and new investment in new plant and equipment would grow. Finally, the U.S. economy would be stimulated without incurring any new public debt or budgetary expenditures.

The Executive Branch has been given nearly a decade to persuade China to live up to its WTO obligation to float its currency. Regrettably, those efforts have borne dismal results. It is long past time for Congress to intervene. Stop China's cheating and help U.S. companies and workers by passing S.1619.

National Textile Association

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