WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces a New Action to Defend U.S. Workers and Industry from China’s Targeting of the Maritime, Logistics, and Shipbuilding Sectors for Dominance

April 18, 2024

WASHINGTON – The Biden-Harris Administration and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (UTSR) yesterday announced that following review of a Section 301 petition filed with USTR by five national labor unions, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai has initiated a full and thorough investigation into the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) acts, policies, and practices targeting the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors for dominance.

Since the announcement, the investigation has received praise from members of Congress, labor, and other stakeholders, who have applauded the Biden-Harris Administration and Ambassador Tai’s efforts to defend these critical American industries from the PRC’s unfair policies and practices.

Read more about what they are saying:

House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member, Congressman Richard E. Neal (MA-01):
“Today’s news that the Biden Administration is launching an investigation into China’s unfair practices in the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding industries is another proof point that President Biden puts American workers first and even more evidence of the strength of labor in moving these critical conversations forward…America’s history as an economic superpower started on the high seas, and President Biden has made it clear that bringing the shipbuilding sector and the good-paying jobs it creates back to our shores is the next step to investing in America. Ways and Means Democrats stand ready to work with the Biden Administration and Ambassador Tai as the investigation moves forward.”

Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI):
“China has been cheating the rules and it’s hurting American workers and putting our national security on the line. I am glad to see the Biden Administration heed our calls and launch this investigation to hold China accountable, helping protect America’s shipbuilding industry and American workers. Wisconsin’s manufacturing workers keep our country safe, provide for their families, and keep our economy moving forward – and I won’t let China undermine them and jeopardize that.”

Senator Sherrod Brown (OH):
“We successfully pushed the Administration to stand with workers in the shipbuilding industry against China's unfair trade practices. We’ll never stop fighting to strengthen our country’s trade enforcement & give American workers a level playing field to compete.”

Senator Bob Casey (PA):
“Senator Baldwin and I pushed the Biden Administration to investigate the Chinese Communist Party’s shipbuilding industry to protect the American workers and manufacturers who have already paid the price for China’s cheating in this critical sector. I’ll continue pressing the Administration to hold this predatory regime accountable by imposing tariffs. If we do not take on the CCP, American workers will only pay a higher cost.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA):
“President Biden and Ambassador Tai are standing up for American steelworkers and shipbuilders. I’ve called on the Biden administration to investigate and crack down on China’s unfair industrial policies, and they're right to take these actions.”

Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02):
“I applaud President Biden and USTR Katherine Tai for initiating an investigation into China’s unfair shipbuilding practices…As the Co-Chair of Shipbuilding Caucus and the Ranking Member on the Seapower Subcommittee, I’ve witnessed how China’s tactics have dramatically expanded global dependency on their shipbuilding industry at the expense of U.S. workers, supply chains, and national security. Without intervention, China’s policies will continue to choke out competitors and erode the United States’ ongoing efforts to expand its industrial base and manufacturing capacity. I look forward to continuing dialogue with the Biden Administration and discuss policy recommendations to ensure that American workers and industry are resilient to China’s anti-competitive practices.”

Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul:
“The Biden administration is right to move ahead with an investigation into China’s predatory practices in its shipbuilding industry. I am also encouraged to hear that President Biden will call for tripling tariff rates on Chinese steel imports. Because whether it is steel and aluminum or shipbuilding or any other industry, we know China’s government will do whatever it takes to dominate. It’s time to fight back. We stand with the United Steelworkers and other unions who filed this trade petition.”

The Aluminum Association President and CEO Charles Johnson:
“Today’s decision is a win for the U.S. aluminum industry and the nearly 700,000 American workers the sector supports. Unfortunately, China continues to engage in significant unfair trade activities, including massive state subsidies which hurt U.S. manufacturing and global carbon reduction efforts. This targeted tariff action by the Biden administration will help to counteract some of these challenges.”

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO):
“The Chinese government's predatory trade practices tilt the playing field against our shipbuilding and maritime industries and hurt American workers. We applaud Ambassador Tai and President Biden for accepting our unions' Section 301 petition and launching an investigation into China’s destructive practices.”

American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) President Kevin Dempsey:
“AISI is very concerned about the recent significant increase in Chinese steel exports to world markets and welcomes President Biden’s actions to strengthen U.S. tariffs on steel from China and to take other actions to address the threats from China’s unfair trade practices. As the largest contributor to the global steel overcapacity problem, China continues to engage in widespread unfair trade practices that harm American steel producers…AISI very much appreciates the Biden administration’s continuing efforts to push back on Chinese and other foreign unfair trade practices that hurt American steel producers and their workers.”

Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) President Michael Stumo:
“The announced actions by the Biden administration are a welcome step in protecting our nation’s steel and shipbuilding industries from unfair, predatory Chinese trade practices.”

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) President Brian Bryant:
“The Biden Administration rightfully knows that the decline of American shipyards and steel manufacturing is about more than just jobs – it weakens our national defense. These robust actions by the Biden Administration, aimed at curtailing Chinese unfair trade practices in these vital industries, are a strong step toward giving American workers a level playing field.”

International Brotherhood of Teamsters:
“The Teamsters applaud USTR and Ambassador Tai for responding to labor concerns around Chinese trade policies by investigating practices that harm American workers in the maritime, logistics and shipbuilding sectors. We strongly support President Biden's call for higher tariffs on Chinese metal products.”