March 16, 2012 / 6:23 PM / 6 years ago

Lawmakers urge Obama to act on China auto parts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of 188 lawmakers on Friday urged President Barack Obama to crack down on “predatory” Chinese pricing practices, which they said are threatening the auto parts industry.

U.S. President Barack Obama talks to a crowd about American energy at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Maryland, March 15, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

“We can not wait until further damage is done,” the group said in a letter to Obama. “Seventy-five percent of the jobs in the automotive sector are in auto parts, and these jobs are at risk in every state in the nation.”

The lawmakers included many from the auto manufacturing states of the upper Midwest, which will likely be important in Obama’s bid for re-election in November.

They said China uses a “vast array of policies” to give its auto parts producers an unfair trade advantage.

Those include Chinese limits on imports of foreign auto parts and subsidies that drive down the prices auto parts that are made in China, the lawmakers said.

“These tactics are working. Chinese auto parts exports are rapidly growing and have increased almost 900 percent since 2000,” the lawmakers said.

The appeal follows Obama’s recent decision to establish an interagency task force to boost U.S. enforcement of trade agreements. The lawmakers urged Obama “to use all existing authorities” to protect the U.S. auto parts sector, but did not outline a particular course of action.

Advocates have said the administration’s options include bringing a case at the World Trade Organization or initiating an action under U.S. trade remedy laws that would lead to duties or other restrictions on imports from China.

Reporting By Doug Palmer; editing by Christopher Wilson

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