Sen. Brown Says Proposed Tariffs Aren't Trade War, But 'Trade Enforcement'

Mar 22, 2018

Ohio’s Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, has introduced a bill to review foreign investments and their impact on U.S. workers, ahead of today's anticipated announcement of major tariffs from the Trump administration.

Brown says he introduced the legislation with Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley to address the trade imbalance with China. The bill would include what Brown calls a long-term strategy to reform the World Trade Organization and make sure foreign investments create jobs here, instead of benefiting foreign companies that compete with U.S. firms.

“We need to renegotiate China’s WTO commitments,” Brown said. “We need to force China to actually live up to them. The WTO has not preserved [a] country’s ability to fight back against unfair trade. It’s failed to make sure its members all follow the rules.”

Brown said he does not consider trade to be a partisan issue, and earlier this month said he supports tariffs on steel and aluminum imports – from China and other countries – proposed by President Trump.

He prefers to call it “trade enforcement” as opposed to a “trade war,” and says one of the reasons for his and Grassley’s bill is that China is highly skilled at stealing intellectual property.

“China has a huge number of unemployed people,” Brown said. “And they find ways to keep them employed. And one of the ways is they subsidize production. They subsidize energy and land and capital and water and they often will steal intellectual property. And it keeps their workers working.”

Brown adds that he does not blame China as much as he blames the U.S. for “letting it happen.”