USW files Section 301 trade petition to level playing field for ship building

USW files a Section 301 trade petition about Chinese shipbuilding practices

A push to boost American shipbuilding is coming from the United Steelworkers.

In just a week, lakers will be leaving their winter layup berths and start making their way across the Great Lakes.

Eight of them have wintered in the Twin Ports. And crews are getting on board some of them, preparing for the upcoming season.

The newest one in Interlake Steamship’s fleet, the Mark W. Barker, was made in Wisconsin. So was the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

Leaders say that we should be prioritizing this industry once again.

On Tuesday, the United Steelworkers filed a Section 301 trade petition, calling on the United States Trade Representative to start an investigation of Chinese commercial shipbuilding.

They also hosted a press conference about this topic on Tuesday.

USW International President Dave McCall said the petition is 4000 pages. “If we do not act soon, we will be dependent on China, not only for the products on the vessels. But also for the ships themselves. The filing is a broad indictment. It also identifies steps taken to restore capabilities and capacity for jobs. It’s time to fight back.”

Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, shared that they want to call out China for alleged unfair trade practices.

“In Wisconsin, we build ships, and the engines that propel them. The United States was once a leader, after WWII, in shipbuilding. But that’s not the story today. Over the last few decades, China has become the leader, and dominates the global supply chain,” Baldwin said.

In the Northland, shipbuilding dates back to the canoe era. And now, Lake Assault Boats currently is busy.

The U.S. Trade Representative has 45 days to determine if there will be an investigation.