Rebuttal: Manufacturing Group Isn’t Anti-China
In response to Daniel Griswold’s May 11 column (”Record profits finance manufacturing group’s anti-China trade campaign”), the Alliance for American Manufacturing is not anti-China. This discussion about American manufacturing is too important to be sidetracked by labels, and deserves an open, vigorous discussion.
AAM is the result of a unique partnership between manufacturing companies and their employees. We are looking at all of the challenges facing U.S. manufacturing and would be remiss if we didn’t identify policies adopted by China that exacerbate American job loss.
Commerce between the United States and China, the EU or any other country contemplates transparent rules, mutually open markets and equal treatment of investors. These traits are exactly what GATT and WTO membership ensure, but unfortunately many in Washington, including Mr. Griswold, fail to insist on any accountability. Why shouldn’t America get the benefit of her bargain? We entered into trade agreements that include benefits and responsibilities. We abide by the agreements. Other countries that enter the agreements must as well.
No American would continue shopping at a grocery store merchant they found consistently padded the bill, substituted poorer quality products or in some other way rigged the transaction. Unlike Mr. Griswold, we believe that all of our trading partners should be held to the same standard. This isn’t a new or unusual position. In fact, it’s the law.
AAM advocates that all countries, including China, follow the rules they agreed to. As a recent study by AAM demonstrates, without enforcing the rules, America loses jobs, loses production facilities and our nation loses a major economic engine.
Our nation’s founders understood that industry in America would shape our society directly by providing jobs and indirectly by enhancing our economic might. Today, that is still true. American manufacturing is one of our country’s most powerful economic engines. American manufacturing is responsible for nearly 70 percent of the research and development taking place, and nearly 80 percent of all new patents filed. It is a source of high-wage jobs, and is producing high-tech jobs for future generations.
There can be no doubt, however, that the manufacturing sector is under siege. The losses over time have been quite substantial—3.2 million manufacturing jobs and 40,000 facilities lost since 2000. Each of those jobs and facilities were tied to the economic security of countless communities and families. Those are losses that America can ill afford to see continue.
American employees and companies deserve a global marketplace that guarantees real trading opportunities; one where those who don’t follow the rules are held accountable. Americans can compete, but not when our trading partners can exploit the rules to gain an upper hand.