WASHINGTON (March 8, 2012)—President Obama is expected to sign a bill that allows the Commerce Department to apply countervailing duties to non-market economies such as China that subsidize product manufacturers and exporters.
The bill had 129 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 22 in the Senate. It passed the Senate by unanimous voice vote March 5 and the House of Representatives by a 370-39 vote the next day.
Groups such as the United Steelworkers and the National Association of Manufacturers expressed unequivocal support for the legislation. However, groups such as the Tire Industry Association expressed skepticism that the bill will benefit U.S. manufacturing and jobs the way its supporters say it will.
The bill was written and passed in direct response to a court case, GPX International Tire Co. vs. U.S., which challenged the high duties the Commerce Department placed on off-the-road tires from China.
“China distorts the free market by giving enormous subsidies to its producers and exporters, and our companies and workers should not be expected to compete against the deep pockets of the Chinese government,” said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., the bill's chief sponsor in the House.
In December 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in the GPX case that the Tariff Act of 1930 did not allow the federal government to levy countervailing duties against products from NME countries.