Dems worried over Obama proposal to implement WTO ruling

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Implementing the ruling would mean the U.S. abandons a calculation method known as “zeroing” that much of the world has lambasted at the WTO for years.

The method allows the U.S. to inflate “dumping margins” by zeroing out data that indicate an export price is actually higher than a home market price. Normally dumping is found when another country is found to be selling products here for less than they are sold at home. Inflating the dumping margins makes it easier for the Commerce Department to declare dumping has occurred and to protect key manufacturing industries like steel.

The Democrats outline specific demands in their letter to Kirk and Bryson on how the WTO ruling should be implemented if the proposal goes forward, and request that other longstanding procedures opposed by domestic manufacturers be changed.

The four members, who have close ties to President Obama's union backers, have been pushing the administration to take a tougher line against China's alleged manipulation of its currency and have been warning that the administration must not forsake U.S. manufacturing in the interest of more free trade. The Obama administration has sought to find a balanced approach that assuages labor, such as by imposing safeguard tariffs on Chinese tires, while signing free-trade agreements favored by big business.