U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh today, where he will be greeted by a chorus of calls to bolster ailing U.S. manufacturers by taking action against China's currency and trade policies.
Mr. Geithner will tour Allegheny Technologies' plate mill in Washington, Pa., before meeting with United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard and U.S. Steel Chairman and CEO John P. Surma at USW headquarters, Downtown.
The Treasury Department said Tuesday that Mr. Geithner would meet privately with labor and business leaders to discuss the economy and manufacturing issues.
Steelmakers and other manufacturers are urging the Obama administration to aid U.S. industry by implementing several measures against China, which they allege is destroying U.S. jobs by keeping the value of its currency artificially low and subsidizing exports.
The policies have cost 2.4 million American jobs since 2001, according to the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a nonprofit group that promotes manufacturing interests. Its members include Allegheny Technologies, U.S. Steel and the USW.
The job loss figures are based on a report from the Economic Policy Institute. They include about 17,500 jobs in the four congressional districts in the Pittsburgh region.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, said Tuesday that Pittsburgh is an appropriate place for Mr. Geithner "to acknowledge what even Chinese business leaders are saying: Beijing manipulates its currency to subsidize its exports in a long-running effort to destroy our country's manufacturing base."
Mr. Murphy and U.S. Reps. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, and Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, were among 130 members of Congress who sent Mr. Geithner and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke a letter this month urging the Obama administration to make a formal statement that China is manipulating its currency. They hope such a statement will be included in a report Mr. Geithner will send to the White House April 15.
In December, the U.S. International Trade Commission imposed duties on about $2.8 billion of Chinese steel pipe exported to the United States. The duties are designed to offset subsidies China provides to its tube producers. It was one of several trade cases that have strained relations between the two countries.
Mr. Geithner will wrap up his visit with a news conference this afternoon at USW offices after the stock market closes.