U.S. trade unions urge inquiry into Chinese shipbuilding

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(WASHINGTON) — Five U.S. unions filed a petition Tuesday calling for an investigation into what they say are unfair Chinese practices in the shipbuilding and maritime logistics sectors, Barron’s and AFP reported.

The petition, filed before U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, urged that action be taken to address “unreasonable and discriminatory” policies and practices by Beijing to dominate these industries, impacting U.S. commerce.

The unions include the United Steelworkers, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Maritime Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.

In a prepared statement, Tai said that China has created “dependencies and vulnerabilities in multiple sectors” such as steel, aluminum, solar and critical minerals. This has brought risks for U.S. supply chains, Tai added.

In the petition, the unions said the U.S. commercial shipbuilding sector is “a shell of its former self.” Meanwhile, China has sought to emerge at the top of the industry with allegedly “non-market policies,” it added.

China’s intervention, the document said, has kept a lid on prices and created a network of infrastructure that threatens “to discriminate against U.S. ships and shipping companies, disrupt supply chains and undermine vital national security interests.”

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has 45 days to determine if it is starting an investigation. Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 provides an avenue to address Beijing’s policies, the unions say, given that it allows the USTR to impose tariffs, fees or other restrictions.


By Professional Mariner Staff