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Webb: Protect American workers from unfair Chinese trade practices

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) warned on Tuesday that removing protections against unfairly subsidized products from China would greatly harm U.S. industry, including Timken’s roller bearing manufacturing facility in Altavista.

In a statement to a review hearing by the U.S. International Trade Commission, Webb called for the commission to retain its antidumping duty order on Chinese tapered roller bearings, which have undersold U.S. products by more than 70 percent.

“Today is not the first time I have expressed concern about the impact of China’s unfair trade policies on the United States, and Virginia in particular,” said Webb.  “I believe that trade can help America’s working men and women, but it requires that everyone play by the rules. The Chinese steel industry is almost entirely state-owned. Heavy subsidies distort the markets and prices for steel and steel-utilizing products, such as tapered roller bearings.”

Antidumping duties were placed on Chinese tapered roller bearings in 1987 and have allowed steady growth at U.S. manufacturers, such as the Timken Altavista facility, which employs 133 workers.

“Advanced manufacturing is critical to revitalizing the U.S. economy and providing good jobs for our nation’s workers,” said Webb. “Timken’s facility is precisely the type of world class manufacturing that our nation needs to maintain and expand.”

In October 2010, Sen. Webb also warned the U.S. International Trade Commission that China’s unfair trade practices were putting Virginia manufactures on “a knife’s edge” and that failure to combat them could lead to “the point where the furniture industry in Virginia is only history.”

Sunset review hearings are required by law every five years after duties are implemented.