In a dispute filed with the World Trade Organization the Obama administration is taking on China and that country’s trade practices regarding parts for the auto industry.
On Monday, the U.S. filed a “request for consultations” which is the first step in the WTO dispute process. This starts a 60-day clock where officials from the U.S. and China can talk and try to find a solution without further litigation, according to the WTO website. If these consultations fail, the dispute can be decided by a WTO panel.
The U.S. contends China is offering illegal subsidies to export products in China’s auto parts industry.
Groups such as the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which is a partnership formed between manufacturers and the United Steelworkers, and the AFL-CIO have issued statements in support of the move.
“The facts in the case are indisputable. China is subsidizing its auto parts sector, blocking our exports, and causing significant harm to workers and businesses in our nation. Our auto assembly sector, now back on its feet, could be undercut by China’s cheating, causing irreparable damage to the heart of America’s productive economy,” said Scott Paul, executive director of Alliance for American Manufacturing, in a written statement. “Auto parts makers in America have already seen the effects of 25 percent surges in Chinese imports over each of the past two years.”
Local companies, both large and small, have been pushing lawmakers to crack down on China’s trade policies and its current policies.
Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and several of his colleagues led an effort to get the President to confront China policies that affect U.S. auto parts jobs.
The Dayton region is a hub of the auto industry. Honda Motor Co. operates the largest manufacturing facility in the Dayton region with its engine plant in Anna. The plant currently employs about 2,400 workers. Honda announced earlier this year it is investing $100 million into the local plant.
General Motors has 400 employees at its DMAX diesel engine plant it operates in Dayton as a joint venture with Isuzu Motors. And AK Steel Holding, the largest company in the Dayton region, supplies steel to many automakers.