By Grace Wyler
In the wake of the recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown stopped in the city to outline how the legislation could help protect the state’s manufacturing jobs.
The two visited Industrial Machining & Design Services, a South Avenue manufacturing company, Thursday to highlight Congress’ efforts to enforce trade laws and ensure that Ohio manufacturers can compete globally.
Industrial Machining & Design, which engineers and builds mechanical and electrical assemblies, transitioned to defense manufacturing after foreign competition pushed the company out of the commercial sector, said the company’s chief executive, Robert Hill.
The company now seeks to re-enter commercial manufacturing in the clean-energy industry but is looking for federal support to ensure that they can compete with overseas companies.
Ryan emphasized that his Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act — which was approved by the House with large bipartisan support last week — would help companies such as Industrial Machining & Design in the “green technology and green-manufacturing sector.”
The bill directs the U.S. Department of Commerce to treat currency manipulation as an unfair export subsidy, which would allow the U.S. to impose countervailing duties.
“We want to make sure that we don’t lose the next-generation manufacturing,” Ryan said. “It’s great to see local businesses taking action and to see the playing field shift.”
Brown, a sponsor of similar legislation in the Senate, added that the enforcement of trade laws and cracking down on unfair trade barriers should be part of a larger national plan to rebuild the manufacturing sector, particularly in the alternative-energy industry.
“We’ve got to help companies like this transition, in partnership with government, so that China doesn’t roll over us in the way that they have in other areas,” Brown said.
Both Brown and Ryan added that they are hopeful the Senate will address the issue of currency manipulation when it resumes next month.