LANCASTER, OH - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Anchor Hocking in Lancaster today, where he toured the facility and met with workers to discuss manufacturing and the need for strong trade enforcement against countries like China that provide unfair subsidies to its glass producers. Headquartered in Lancaster since its inception in 1905, Anchor Hocking employs more than 1,500 Ohioans and is a leading manufacturer of Made-in- the-USA glass tableware and bakeware.
"Manufacturers like Anchor Hocking helped build our nation's middle class. But too many American manufacturers have been undermined by trade policy that stacks the deck against them," Brown said. "As we continue toward our economic recovery, we need to combat currency manipulation and other unfair subsidies that threaten good manufacturing jobs. We also need to implement a national manufacturing strategy to support domestic industry and innovation. Anchor Hocking has a proud history in Central Ohio - more than 100 years running - due in large part to its dedicated and skilled workforce who proves that manufacturing remains the strength and stability behind our economic prosperity."
Brown was joined by Chief Executive Officer Mark Eichhorn and Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Mark Hedstrom. "Speaking on behalf of all Anchor Hocking associates, I am proud to welcome Senator Brown to our Lancaster facility. We feel quite fortunate to have this opportunity to host Senator Brown and for the chance to discuss the challenges confronting the glass tableware industry," Eichhorn said. "Anchor is blessed with a dedicated team of workers, many representing second, third and even fourth generation glass workers. They are extremely capable and possess a strong work ethic. They are the reason we are a leading manufacturer and marketer of glass tableware produced in the U.S. and sold worldwide. We sincerely appreciate Senator Brown's commitment to U.S. manufacturing and for his support of the glass tableware industry.
Despite the huge labor cost advantages and lax environmental, safety and health policies in China and other foreign markets, I have assured Senator Brown Anchor Hocking is committed to doing everything we can to continuously improve our operations, stay competitive in a global market and grow our market share."
In October 2009, Brown wrote to Commerce Sec. Locke and USTR Rep. Kirk in advance of a Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting that examined the needs of domestic glass manufacturers, like Anchor Hocking. Brown has been a strong advocate for enforcing international trade law. He has testified multiple times before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of steel, aluminum, rubber tire, and paper producers in Ohio during cases that considered whether underpriced imports from countries like China were negatively impacting domestic manufacturers. Positive rulings from the ITC have helped support manufacturing jobs in Ohio, playing an important role in the construction of a new $650 million seamless pipe mill in Youngstown that brought hundreds of jobs to the Mahoning Valley as well as the preservation of tire manufacturing jobs in Findlay and Leavittsburg.
As chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and a member of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, Brown has introduced a package of key legislative proposals aimed at bolstering the competiveness of U.S. manufacturers and boosting domestic manufacturing, including a bill to require a "National Manufacturing Strategy." He also serves as a member of the President's Export Council, working to combat unfair trade practices and advance the National Export Initiative (NEI), which would double exports over the next five years.
Rebalancing America's Trade and Globalization Agenda American manufacturing has been ticket to the middle class and helps lead economic recovery efforts. Unfortunately, over the last several years, the manufacturing sector of our economy has suffered disproportionately and millions of good jobs have been lost. Between February 2001 and February 2009, 4.7 million manufacturing jobs disappeared. Workers and manufacturers have found it increasingly difficult to compete in today's global markets when the deck is stacked against them because of unfair trading practices. Yet manufacturing has helped to lead us out of past recessions, and must again be an essential part of our economic strategy.
Our trade laws were set up to establish a level playing field, but some of our trading partners have repeatedly found ways to circumvent these laws in order to gain an unfair advantage in trade with the U.S. This has led to our record-breaking trade deficits, which threaten the long-term health of our economy, and have contributed to the migration of manufacturing jobs to factories overseas.
President Obama has made significant improvements in trade enforcement and holding trade partners, including China, accountable to its trade commitments, yet our trade enforcement efforts still lag and the Administration has only initiated five cases. Meanwhile, China continues to manipulate its currency and discriminate against American goods and services. Foreign companies routinely avoid U.S. trade remedy laws by transshipping through other countries. Brown is urging his Senate colleagues to:
* Crack down on currency manipulation by strengthening the anti- dumping and countervailing duty laws to consider undervalued currency in determining duty rates.
* Hold the executive branch more accountable to combating the discriminatory and unfair trade practices that are costing U.S. jobs.
* Provide the necessary resources to the appropriate agencies to monitor and enforce our trading partners' international trade commitments.
Brown and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act of 2011 which would give the Obama Administration additional tools to address China's currency manipulation.
Brown also introduced the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act of 2011 would give the federal government more authority to address trade barriers that undermine American workers and domestic manufacturing by reinstating "Super 301" authority.