The following is the text of a letter written by Terence P. Stewart, President of the Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws, regarding “The Leveling the Playing Field Act” introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown.
December 10, 2014
The Honorable Sherrod Brown
United States Senate
713 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3505
Dear Senator Brown:
On behalf of the Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws (CSUSTL), thank you for drafting and introducing the Leveling the Playing Field Act. CSUSTL’s membership appreciates your leadership in helping ensure that the trade laws remain an effective tool for U.S. companies and their workers to address unfair trade practices.
CSUSTL’s members, which span all major industrial sectors, including manufacturing, technology, agriculture, and mining (companies, associations and worker representatives), depend on the trade laws to ensure that they can compete fairly and on an equal footing with foreign competitors who dump to gain advantage in the U.S. market, or who benefit from government subsidies.
The Leveling the Playing Field Act contains common sense, good government revisions to the antidumping and countervailing duty laws. Many of the changes are intended to promote administrative efficiency at the Department of Commerce. Enforcement and Compliance, the Commerce unit tasked with administering these laws, is faced with a growing number of investigations, administrative reviews, WTO cases, and court challenges. At the same time, the Department’s resources have decreased over the past several years due to budget constraints. These provisions are designed to reduce the burden on administrators, without sacrificing the effectiveness of the laws.
Other provisions are aimed at reducing the ability of foreign respondents to game the system by abusing provisions related to voluntary respondents, new shipper reviews, and providing requested information in antidumping and countervailing duty investigations. The bill also gives U.S. Customs and Border Protection the ability to compel importers to submit country of origin certifications in cases where Commerce requires them. Finally, the bill delineates additional factors the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) should consider when making its assessment of injury to the domestic industry, and permits the Commission to extend the period of investigation when recovery from a recession masks injury. We look forward to continuing to work with you and other Members in Senate and House to seek enactment of this important legislation.
Terence P. Stewart