March 16, 2011

Manchin Cosponsors Legislation to Help Keep Manufacturing Jobs in West Virginia

Bill would punish China for currency manipulation, ensure that America remains competitive

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has cosponsored legislation to clarify that the United States can charge import taxes on goods that come from countries known to illegally undervalue their currency. The Chinese government has a demonstrated track record of manipulating their country’s currency, keeping the value of the yuan artificially low in order to reduce the price of their exports. This practice gives China an unfair trade advantage over foreign competitors.

As a result, America’s goods have become comparatively more expensive, leading to job losses, especially in the manufacturing sector.

“America truly has the brightest minds and the most dedicated workforce in the world, and yet our manufacturing industry is being crippled because China refuses to play by the rules,” Senator Manchin said. “America won’t idly stand by as manufacturers close up shop and lay off workers as China continues to break the rules. This bill simply levels the playing field by ensuring that America’s manufacturers can better compete.”

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, a total of 50,700 jobs were related to manufacturing in West Virginia in 2009, which equals 6.8 percent of the state’s nonfarm employment. In 2008, manufacturing constituted 10.7% of West Virginia’s economy.

The average compensation for manufacturing positions in 2009 was $63,143, compared to $46,921 for the rest of the workforce.