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Spratt bill aims for 27.5% tariffs on China textiles

Washington – U.S. Congressman John Spratt (D-SC) said that a bill he has introduced with Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) would “stem the rapid surge in textile imports from China.”

Last week, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit reached to $60.04 billion in May, the second highest level this year, the Congressman’s office said.

The January-to-May U.S. trade deficit with China totals $96.34 billion, up from $82.23 billion for the same time period last year — an increase of 17.2%. At its current pace, the U.S. trade deficit with China will exceed $270 billion in 2007, up from last year’s record of $232 billion, according to Spratt’s staff.

“One remedy is to stop China from undervaluing its currency,” said Spratt.  “This bill does that.”

Spratt said that China has maintained a devalued currency in order to gain a greater trade advantage. China’s currency is undervalued at between 15% and 40%, or an average 27.5%, said the Congressman’s team. The currency manipulation has aggravated the U.S. trade deficit and cost American jobs, Spratt said.

The bill, H.R. 1002, would levy tariffs of 27.5% on goods from China if the Chinese government does not allow its currency to float on the open market.

“The Carolinas have lost the highest percentage of manufacturing jobs in the nation,” said Spratt.  “If we do not level the playing field for our manufacturing firms when it comes to trade, we are going to lose more of the best jobs in our economy, plus the ability to make goods.”

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