Dahlkemper Statement on Fighting Chinese Currency Manipulation and Chinese Dominance of ‘Rare Earths’ Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 September 2010 00:00
Washington—Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper released the following statement today via conference call about legislation which passed the House of Representatives last night to give U.S. businesses a new tool to fight China’s currency manipulation and her plan to end the U.S. dependency on China for vital rare earth materials.

The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, cosponsored by Rep. Dahlkemper, will create a more level playing field for American exports holding China accountable for the manipulation of its currency. Rep. Dahlkemper’s original legislation, the Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act of 2010, will jump start U.S. research and development in rare earth materials to create a strong, domestic rare earths industry. Please click here to learn more about these bills and how they benefit American manufacturers.

Rep. Dahlkemper’s statement is below:

“I’m pleased to share some good news for our region’s economy and specifically, our manufacturers. Last night, the House passed two China-related bills that I’d like to talk about today. First, we passed a bill to take China to task on the manipulation of their currency, the Renminbi, or RMB.

“This has been an issue of great concern to me since before I came to Congress—China’s currency manipulation has been hurting businesses and workers in Western Pennsylvania for years. Companies like Penn United, a tool and dye manufacturer, have been hurt by the Chinese practices of unfair trade.

“Undervalued currency makes China’s exports to the U.S. artificially cheaper—giving them a competitive advantage in our country, against our own manufacturers. And, when our American products are competing with China in other markets, we’re at a disadvantage because that artificial pricing is not just here, it’s global.

“This currency bill is one of the ways we can stand with our American manufacturers and send a message to China that enough is enough. They need to start playing fair. That’s all our manufacturers ask for and that’s what we’re fighting for—a level playing field. Americans can make any product competitively, if not better than anyone else.

“We’ve done it for decades and when trade is fair, American manufacturing thrives and creates the well-paying, family-sustaining jobs that make communities strong. We need those jobs here, and this currency manipulation plan will help keep American jobs right here and stop the loss of jobs to China.

“It will give American manufacturers another tool to stand up to China’s cheating and put an end to their unfair and illegal trade practices.

“Next, I’d like to talk about my bill, the Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act. Rare earth materials may not be something that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but they are of enormous importance to our national security and our economy.

“What would happen to our national defense if we could no longer build a jet engine? Vehicle batteries? Advanced targeting systems? What are the chances that we become energy independent if we cannot produce hybrid cars, wind turbines and other alternative energy products? What would happen to our economy if the technologies we depend on to make businesses work are no longer available?

“These are questions we would have to answer if China cut off our supply of rare earth materials—vital components to nearly every piece of advanced technology we use in our national defense and throughout businesses and industry.

“For the past decade, the United States has been almost entirely dependent on China for its supply of rare earth materials, despite the fact that we have an abundant reserve of these materials within our own borders. China currently accounts for as much as 97 percent of the world’s available supply of rare earth materials.

“But they are reducing the amount of these materials going into the global market. Just this summer, China announced it would cut its rare earths exports for the second half of 2010 by 72 percent. 

“The bottom line is this: China is cornering the market on rare earth materials and we are falling behind. That is why we need to act now to begin the process of creating our own domestic supply of rare earth materials so the United States is never dependent on China—or on any other country—for crucial components for our national security.

“My bill is a bipartisan plan to jump start U.S. research and development in rare earth materials to improve our ability to find, extract, process and use rare earths to improve products. We want to ultimately create a domestic supply of rare earths.

“My legislation will foster a strong rare earths industry here in the United States. The scope of this bill spans the full supply chain, from exploration to mining to manufacturing. It will reduce risk in financing new rare earths production facilities by guaranteeing loans to companies with new processing and refining technologies.

“China has stated clearly that foreign firms that move their manufacturing capacity onto Chinese soil will have no trouble procuring rare earth materials. That’s just another way American manufacturing jobs are being lured overseas.

“That has to stop. We need to make things right here in our country and give those great manufacturing jobs to American men and women here.

“This legislation is both urgent and timely. Just last week, China reportedly cut off Japan’s supply of rare earths in the wake of a territory conflict.

“This is a clear warning sign, and we would be foolish to ignore it. The GAO reports that it may take up to 15 years to rebuild the U.S. rare earth supply chain. Delaying the seed money to begin this process only prolongs our dependency on China.

“I am pleased that representatives on both sides of the aisle supported my plan to jump start our own rare earths supply chain, promote U.S. global competitiveness and ensure our national defense is Made in America.

“So, yesterday was a very good day for manufacturers in Western Pennsylvania and a good day for U.S. global competitiveness.”