Bipartisan bill would stop government from buying Chinese items

A bipartisan bill introduced Friday would prohibit the federal government from buying Chinese products and services until there are changes in trade policy.

"When China fails to play the rules, U.S. tax dollars should not be used to buy Chinese-made products," said bill co-spondor Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). "American workers and manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world, but they deserve a level playing field."

China must stop manipulating its currency, stop massively subsidizing production and start opening its markets, Brown said in a release. 

"Despite being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for 10 years, China prevents American and other foreign companies from bidding on Chinese government contracts through an indigenous innovation program," Brown said in a release. 

The U.S. can't challenge the program at the WTO until China agrees sign onto the Agreement of Governmental Procurement, which would allow American companies to bid on Chinese government contracts.

The federal government should withhold its spending on purchases of Chinese tires, ammunition, office equipment and even U.S. Mint coins until American businesses are allowed to access the roughly $500 billion Chinese government procurement market.

This legislation will plug loopholes in Buy American laws, which allow for the U.S. government to buy Chinese goods. It also requires the Commerce Department to report on how China's policies are harmful to our economy and requires the Energy Department to monitor China's developing its renewable energy sector, which impacts American manufacturers.

Along with Brown, chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, the bill's co-sponsors include Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).