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OCTOBER 20, 2003
5:01 PM
Guillermo Meneses 202-637-5018
Statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on Foreign Currency Manipulation and President Bush's Agenda in Asia

WASHINGTON - October 20 - Over the past few days, President Bush has failed to gain any meaningful commitments from the leaders of Japan and China to end their destructive and unfair manipulation of currency, which disadvantages American workers and manufacturers. It has become painfully clear that responding to the needs of U.S. manufacturers and working families is nowhere near the top of the Bush agenda on his trip to Asia.

Despite major productivity gains, this is the deepest crisis for U.S. manufacturing since the Great Depression. Since George Bush took office, our nation has lost more than 2.5 million manufacturing jobs. American manufacturing is tremendously disadvantaged by unfair foreign trade practices, currency manipulation, and workers’ rights abuses. Since 2000 when China was granted permanent normalized trade relations status, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown by almost 25 percent, hitting a staggering $103 billion last year – our single largest bilateral deficit. Meanwhile, the Chinese government continues to arrest and brutally repress workers who advocate for independent unions or better working conditions.

Despite this crisis at home and abroad, the Administration has been alarmingly slow to respond, and their efforts to date appear to be little more than fig leafs. In fact, this Administration has delivered little for workers except pink slips. We need an Administration willing to fight for American manufacturing. We call on the Administration to end the unfair manipulation of foreign currency that is destroying U.S. jobs every day. We also call on Congress and the Administration to hold China to its WTO commitments to end unfair trade practices and to press Beijing to honor internationally recognized core workers’ rights.

American workers are ready to compete. American manufacturing can be revitalized. We need this Administration to respond in a meaningful way or we risk losing the most reliable driver of economic growth in this nation: highly productive manufacturing and the middle-income jobs it creates.


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