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May 23, 2014
*As Prepared for Delivery*
“The overarching goal of President Obama’s trade policy is to support jobs and strengthen the American middle class by selling more Made-in-America exports to the world. Every day at USTR we are fighting to unlock economic opportunity for American workers, farmers, and businesses of all sizes.
“Standing up for American trade rights abroad and leveling the playing field for our workers is at the heart of that effort.
“Today, we have once again demonstrated our commitment to protecting American workers.
“I’m proud to announce that the United States has won a major trade enforcement case that we brought on behalf of American auto workers and manufacturers.
“Back in December 2011, China imposed duties of up to 21.5 percent on American-made cars and SUVs – effectively a tax of more the 20 percent on cars and SUVs we sold to China. China said it was to counteract harmful dumping and subsidization. But we saw no basis for China’s action, so we made our case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that these duties were completely unjustified.
“In a report released today, a panel of experts has now agreed with us that China’s imposition of those duties was against WTO rules.
“This is a significant victory. In 2013, the United States exported 64.9 billion dollars worth of autos, and 8.5 billion of that went to China, which has become the second largest export market for U.S. autos.
“China’s unjustified duties affected an estimated 5.1 billion dollars of those exports, and applied to well-known models, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, Buick Enclave, Cadillac Escalade, and others.
“This is also a victory that impacts our nation’s workers and their families, especially our nation’s auto workers. Almost 850,000 Americans around the country, from Michigan to Ohio to California, work hard every day making some of the best cars and SUVs in the world.
“When given a chance to compete on a level playing field, these men and women are the best workers in the world. That is precisely why USTR is committed to standing up for their trade rights through enforcement actions like this one.
“The WTO report released today demonstrates that we can fight and win for American workers, businesses, and farmers in the global trading system. We can and will ensure that Americans reap the benefits of the rules and market access we have negotiated in our international trade agreements. And, when we see signs that WTO rules are being broken and our exporters may be hurt, we will address the problem, including through dispute settlement if necessary.
“I am pleased that China has announced the termination of the antidumping and countervailing duties on U.S.-made autos. That is already a direct result of our prosecution of this case.
“However, while we welcome China’s decision to lift the duties, we remain deeply concerned by the troubling pattern of China’s misuse of antidumping and countervailing duty measures.
“This is the third time the Administration has taken China to the WTO for its misuse of these types of measures. We have won each of the three disputes we have brought.
“It is time for China to change the practices that have led the United States and our trading partners to bring these kinds of cases.
“The Obama Administration will continue to tirelessly enforce American trade rights abroad so that our workers, farmers, and businesses can compete and win on a fair and level playing field.
“I would like to thank the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission, which provided essential support to USTR’s Office of Monitoring and Enforcement in achieving a successful outcome in this dispute.
“Together, through enforcement actions like this one, we will continue to fight for our workers as they set record highs for Made-in-America exports.”