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Report Claims Competition From China Costs Thousands of Ohio Jobs

March 25, 2010

The surge in manufacturing work during the last decade in China cost northeast Ohio 19,300 jobs from 2001 to 2008, according to a new study by a union-sponsored think tank.

The Economic Policy Institute report, “Unfair China Trade Costs Local Jobs,” says manipulation of China’s currency that has kept the yuan’s value artificially low cost the region 1.73 percent of its total employment from 2001 to 2008.

“We have allowed the Chinese government to game the system for far too long, with serious consequences for the U.S. economy,” said the report’s author, EPI economist Robert Scott. “The Treasury Department should publicly declare China to be a currency manipulator, and the Congress should authorize tariffs of at least 25 percent if China doesn’t start playing by fair rules.”

Ohio lost 91,800 manufacturing jobs statewide, or 1.7 percent of the workforce, the report estimates.

Last week, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, was one of 14 senators introducing legislation that would impose the kinds of penalties the report suggests on countries that keep their currencies unfairly low.

“Currency manipulation gives Chinese manufacturers a 40 percent cost advantage,” Brown said in a release announcing the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2010. “If we’re serious about boosting exports—and creating jobs in American manufacturing—we need to crack down on practices like currency manipulation.” 

Filed by Jay Miller of Crain’s Cleveland Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

 

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