ERJ staff report (TB)
Washington DC -- The head of the US-China Business Council (USCBC) is calling into question President Barack Obama's assertion during his Jan. 25 State of the Union address that tariffs on Chinese-made consumer tyres have helped keep jobs at US tyre plants.
â€œWe disagree that the tariffs on imports of low-end Chinese tyres have had any positive effect on American jobs or the American economy,â€ USCBC President John Frisbie said in a prepared response to Mr. Obama's speech in which the president asserted that â€œmore than a thousand Americans are workingâ€ because of the tariffs.
â€œAll evidence suggests that the beneficiaries have been other low-end tyre producers in Asia and Mexico,â€ Mr. Frisbie said. â€œAmerican companies have moved beyond low-end tyres to higher-value products, reflecting our manufacturing and technology advantages.
â€œLet'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 tyre tariffs.â€
Mr. Frisbie's comments on the tyre tariffs were part of a broader USCBC statement on Mr. Obama's call for greater attention to the US's commercial relationship with China.
â€œFew issues loom as large on America's economic and foreign policy agendas and our relationship with Chinaâ€¦. China has been our fastest growing major export market since it joined the World Trade Organisation and is the only major market since 2000 to have averaged the 15-percent growth per year needed to meet (Mr.) Obama's goal of doubling US exports by 2014â€¦.
â€œUSCBC has long advocated a well-coordinated interagency approach to the commercial relationship with China, directed out of the White House,â€ Mr. Frisbie said. â€œWe 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.â€
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 organisation of roughly 240 American companies that do business with China.