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Investigation launched into Chinese shipbuilding’s impact on national security, U.S. jobs.



China accused of harming U.S. shipbuilding in Wisconsin and other states.

The White House said Wednesday it has launched an investigation into China’s shipbuilding industry for alleged practices that undermine national security and jobs in Wisconsin and other states.

U.S. Ambassador Katherine Tai said the investigation is in regard to “serious and concerning allegations” of China’s longstanding efforts to dominate the global maritime logistics and shipbuilding industries.

Chinese state-owned enterprises and other facilities are now capable of building more than 1,000 ocean-going vessels a year, while the United States produced only around 10 last year, according to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) who asked for the investigation in March.

“China has been cheating the rules and it’s hurting American workers and putting our national security on the line. I am glad to see the Biden administration heed our calls and launch this investigation to hold China accountable,” Baldwin said in a statement Wednesday.

“China has tried to rig the system with unfair trade practices,” Baldwin said, much like Chinese state subsidized industries gained control in other areas of transportation such as intermodal shipping containers and trailer chassis.

The investigation, which could take months to complete, was prompted by a 4,000-page petition from at least five labor unions in the maritime industry.

While shipbuilding remain vitals to the U.S. economy and national security, China’s uncompetitive practices have led to the loss of 25,000 shipbuilding suppliers, according to the trade complaint known as a Section 301 Investigation.

Wisconsin still has a robust industry, especially with U.S. Navy vessels. Fincantieri Marine Group, an Italian company, has shipyards in Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay and Marinette that, combined, employ several thousand people. The company’s Wisconsin workforce builds commercial freighters in Sturgeon Bay and a Navy frigate in Marinette.

Wisconsin’s shipbuilding industry dates back nearly 200 years. Milwaukee and Manitowoc were home to the first shipyards in the state, opening in the mid-1830s. The first large vessel from Milwaukee shipyards was launched in 1837, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

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