Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Biden Challenges China Trade Practices

Washington, D.C.—President Joe Biden and his U.S. trade representative (USTR) are taking on China over unfairly targeting the maritime, logistics and shipbuilding sectors for dominance.

“They’re not competing. They’re cheating,” Biden said in a speech to steelworkers in Pittsburgh.

If unfair practices are proven, the president said he would call on the USTR to consider tripling the tariff rates for steel and aluminum imports from China.

Biden said the Chinese government has poured state money into Chinese steel companies, pushing them to make as much subsidized steel as possible.

“Because Chinese steel companies produce a lot more steel than China needs, it ends up dumping the extra steel into the global markets at unfairly low prices,” he said.

Prior to the president’s remarks, the USTR announced an investigation into China’s actions targeting U.S. maritime, logistics and shipbuilding sectors.

That action came after a review of a petition filed by five national labor unions.

In addition to a public hearing, the USTR said it is seeking public comments, which should be submitted by May 22 via the appropriate online portal at https://comments.ustr.gov/s/.

The hearing is scheduled at 10 a.m. May 29 in the main hearing room of the U.S. International Trade Commission Building, 500 E St. SW, Washington, D.C.

“The allegations reflect what we have already seen across other sectors, where the PRC utilizes a wide range of non-market policies and practices to undermine fair competition and dominate the market, both in China and globally,” Ambassador Katherine Tai said.

TSAC To Meet

The National Towing Safety Advisory Committee and its subcommittees are scheduled to conduct a series of meetings April 30–May1 in Annapolis, Md., to discuss matters relating to shallow-draft inland navigation, coastal waterway navigation and towing safety.

Open to the public, the meetings are set to begin at 8 p.m. (EDT) on both days at the Graduate Annapolis, 126 West St, Annapolis, MD 21401.

For additional information and to request reasonable accommodation due to a disability, contact Matthew Layman at 202-372-1421 or Matthew.D.Layman@uscg.mil as soon as possible.

TSAC Vacancies

The Coast Guard is accepting applications to fill 18 vacancies on the National Towing Safety Advisory Committee that advises the secretary of Homeland Security on matters relating to shallow-draft inland navigation, coastal waterway navigation and towing safety.

Applications must reach the Coast Guard by June 10 and be emailed to Matthew.D.Layman@uscg.mil with “NTSAC Vacancy Application” in the subject line.

In this solicitation, applications for the following 18 positions will be considered: seven members to represent the barge and towing industry, reflecting a regional geographic balance; one to represent the offshore mineral and oil supply vessel industry; one to represent masters and pilots of towing vessels who hold active licenses and have experience on the Western Rivers and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway;  one to represent the masters of towing vessels in offshore service who hold active licenses; one to represent masters of active ship docking or harbor towing vessels; one to represent licensed and unlicensed towing vessel engineers with formal training and experience; two to represent port districts, authorities or terminal operators; two to represent shippers and of the two, one engaged in the shipment of oil or hazardous materials by barge; and two to represent the general public.

For additional information, contact Matthew Layman at 202-372-1421 or Matthew.d.Layman@uscg.mil.

Ferry Grants

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the opportunity to apply for $316 million in competitive grants under Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Passenger Ferry Grant Program (Passenger Ferry Program), Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program (Low-No Ferry Program) and Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program (Rural Ferry Program).

Due by 11:59 p.m. EDT June 17, proposals must be submitted through the grants.gov “apply” function.

Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s website at www.transit.dot.gov/howtoapply and in the “find”’ module of grants.gov.

Of the amount available, $51 million is for the Passenger Ferry Program, $49 million for the Low-No Ferry Program and $216 million is for the Rural Ferry Program.

For additional information, contact  FTAFerryPrograms@dot.gov or Vanessa Williams at 202-366-4818, or Sarah Clements at 202-366-3062.

Port Security Grants

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced $90 million in fiscal year 2024 funding for the Port Security Grant Program.

Down $10 million because of spending cuts approved by Congress, the funding helps protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness, improve port-wide maritime security risk management and maintain or re-establish maritime security mitigation protocols that support port recovery and resiliency capabilities.

Mayorkas’ announcement totaled more than $1.8 billion in funding for eight preparedness grant programs.

Great Lakes Restoration

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its federal partners are seeking public input on the draft Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan IV that outlines the goals of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the years 2025 to 2029.

Accepted until May 24, input can be shared at: https://glri.us/action-plan, where the draft plan also can be found.

According to EPA, more than 3,500 suggestions from the public on priorities for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan IV were received last summer through five public engagement sessions across the Great Lakes basin and two virtual engagement sessions.

EPA said it also consulted with the Great Lakes states and tribes throughout the plan’s development.