WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 26, 2012)—The head of the U.S.-China Business Council is calling into question President Obama's assertion during his Jan. 25 State of the Union address that tariffs on Chinese-made consumer tires have helped keep jobs at U.S. tire plants.
“We disagree that the tariffs on imports of low-end Chinese tires have had any positive effect on American jobs or the American economy,” USCBC President John Frisbie said in a prepared response to Obama's speech in which the president asserted that “more than a thousand Americans are working” because of the tariffs.
“All evidence suggests that the beneficiaries have been other low-end tire producers in Asia and Mexico,” Frisbie said. “American companies have moved beyond low-end tires to higher-value products, reflecting our manufacturing and technology advantages.
“Let's build on those strengths and not repeat tariff actions that hurt American consumers without first doing a fuller investigation of the full impact of the tire tariffs.”
Frisbie's comments on the tire tariffs were part of a broader USCBC statement on Obama's call for greater attention to the U.S.'s commercial relationship with China.
“Few issues loom as large on America's economic and foreign policy agendas as our relationship with China,” Frisbie said. “China has been our fastest growing major export market since it joined the World Trade Organization and is the only major market since 2000 to have averaged the 15-percent growth per year needed to meet Obama's goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014à.
“USCBC has long advocated a well-coordinated interagency approach to the commercial relationship with China, directed out of the White House. We look forward to hearing more details about how this new initiative will be structured and look forward to working together to bring benefit to our economy, companies, workers and farmers.”
The council also supports the president's proposal to put American companies on even footing with export financing that will level the playing field with Chinese companies in third country markets.
The USCBC is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of roughly 240 American companies that do business with China.