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The contract to manufacture blast-resistant glass that will wrap around the main tower of the new World Trade Center in New York City was awarded to a Chinese firm. The Alliance for American Manufacturing and related groups have protested this decision, and (according to a press account)'1' sent a letter on October 8, 2009, to U.S. trade officials asking that they address China's unfair trade practices. 'Our domestic glass industry is the most efficient in the world, but it cannot compete against production that is heavily subsidized by the Chinese government,' the letter states. 'As a result, glass production in the U.S. has suffered in recent years, with plant closings and thousands of lost jobs throughout the country.'
One of the leaders in the efforts to reverse the contract is the United Steel Workers (USW), the same labor union that was the petitioner in the China tire safeguard case (see the Global Trade Alert description of this measure) and the coated paper anti-dumping/countervailing duty cases (see the Global Trade Alert description of this measure). In support of its arguments the USW cites an analysis released in October, 2009 by the Economic Policy Institute (a think tank that has close ties to the U.S. labor movement). Written by Usha C.V. Haley, Through the Chinese Looking Glass: Subsidies to China's Glass Industry from 2004-08 finds that 'China's glass and glass-products industry received at least $30.3 billion in subsidies from 2004 to 2008 ... reaching about 35% of gross industrial output value of glass in 2008.' President Leo W. Gerard of the USW issued a statement on October 9, 2009 that this report 'provides compelling evidence that our government must step to the plate at the upcoming commerce talks with China later this month to urge a response that reduces the effect of subsidization on American jobs in the glass industry.'
The USW has indicated that there are no immediate plans to file a trade-remedy petition against these imports from China, but have implied that this is a possibility.
A spokesman for the government agency that is rebuilding the World Trade Center site (i.e., the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) stated in the press account that the award was made in 'a competitive bidding process, which is how we award all our contracts.'
'1' Peter Whoriskey, 'New World Trade Center's Chinese Glass Is Adding to Trade Furor,' Washington Post (October 10, 2009).
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