We had a big victory for Ohio workers last week.
The Trump administration followed through on calls from myself and Senator Portman to stand up for the 3,500 Ohio workers at Whirlpool whose jobs have been threatened by cheap imports from countries like China, Mexico, and Korea.
Because of that victory, Whirlpool is now able to add 200 new jobs at its plant in Clyde, which the company attributes to the new tariffs Senator Portman and I have been fighting for, for years.
For too long, companies like LG and Samsung haven’t played by the rules and have flooded the market with unfairly-traded washing machines. Cases like this are why I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including Senator Portman, to pass my Leveling the Playing Field Act in 2015. That law strengthened our trade rules that allow businesses like Whirlpool to seek relief from unfair foreign competition by petitioning the International Trade Commission (ITC).
And at a time when we’ve seen far too much partisan gridlock in Washington, Senator Portman and I have been fighting for these workers since they filed their very first case against Mexico and Korea in 2012.
Last week’s decision will finally provide broad relief against multiple countries, so foreign competitors can’t simply pick up and move from one country to another to avoid playing by the rules.
When I toured Whirlpool’s washing machine factory in Clyde, I saw how the company has invested in their washing machine line to try to keep up with cheap imports. I talked to workers who knew their good-paying jobs hung in the balance with this trade case. And I saw the American flags stamped on Whirlpool’s machines rolling off the production line.
This decision will mean more of those Ohio-made washers in homes across America, more jobs in Clyde, and more security for these Ohio workers.
That’s what this case is all about – and it’s why we can’t stop with one trade case and one company. Our steel industry is still drowning under unfair, illegal competition from China. It’s why we need the President to act immediately on the steel Section 232 investigation, and why I’ve pressed him to completely reset our trade relationship with China.
Right now, the administration is also beginning the next phase of NAFTA negotiations. We have a chance to bring workers to the table, and fix this agreement that has shipped American jobs overseas for decades.
This victory is proof that when we get serious about enforcing our trade laws, we can deliver real results for Ohio workers.
Sen. Sherrod Brown represents Ohio in the Senate and is a guest columnist.