Remarks by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman
Announcing Compliance Action in China – GOES Dispute
Office of the United States Trade Representative
Executive Office of the President
January 13, 2014
Good afternoon. First piece of news today is that I am not Tim Reif, in case any of you were confused. But Tim will be here to answer technical questions. I wanted to come over and just underscore the importance of today’s announcement.
You know, when President Obama came into office five years ago, he made clear that this administration’s focus would be on creating jobs, promoting growth and strengthening the middle class. And that’s been our approach to trade policy. Our trade policy has been reoriented around those priorities ever since.
Supporting American jobs is our number one job.
To ensure that Americans see the full benefit of the rules and market access we have negotiated in our international trade agreements, the President put enforcement of America’s trade rights in on a par with opening markets for U.S. exports.
We’ve brought real emphasis to the enforcement agenda. Starting in 2009, we doubled the rate of enforcement cases and enforcement actions. And in 2012, we built on this already strong record to create the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center, which has further mobilized a whole-of-government approach to trade enforcement,
Because the Obama Administration is determined to fight for American workers and businesses in the global trading system and to not stop fighting until their rights are fully realized the United States today is challenging China’s failure to comply with the WTO’s decision in favor of the United States in our dispute on high-tech steel.
Specifically, we have requested consultations with China on its failure to bring antidumping and countervailing duties on U.S. exports of GOES (grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel) into compliance with its WTO obligations.
Today’s action shows that when the United States steps up to the plate on trade enforcement, we will follow through.
We are committed to ensuring that our trading partners play by the rules – and respond with appropriate action when they are found to be in violation.
The United States brought this dispute because we considered that China had breached WTO procedural and substantive rules when it imposed duties on GOES from the United States.
China’s duties effectively blocked U.S. exports of GOES to China. Before China imposed these duties, U.S. exports of GOES amounted to more than $250 million a year. The year after China imposed the duties, the value of U.S. exports of GOES fell to $3 million.
We were right, and China was wrong. The WTO found that China’s duties are inconsistent with WTO rules. And unfortunately, it appears that China has not corrected those inconsistencies.
We believe the evidence is clear that China has not brought its duties into compliance with WTO rules.
We support the fair use of trade remedies as fundamental to WTO rights and obligations. But we will not stand by while China misuses trade remedies to block U.S. exports unfairly, to the detriment of U.S. workers and businesses.
Through this action, we are standing up for our trade rights, and we are enforcing trade rules so that our workers and businesses can compete and win in the global economy.
Thank you very much. I’ll turn it over to our General Counsel to answer technical questions for you.