The auto parts industry, a key sector of the Illinois economy, is in trouble. The culprit is imports from China, up 50 percent over the last two years, says Scott Paul, director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a group supported by manufacturing firms and workers.
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“The challenge for Illinois auto parts makers and for workers is that this is not a level playing field. The competition from China is subsidized very heavily, and we also don’t have access to China’s market in auto parts the way that we should,” Paul says. China has subsidized its auto parts business to the tune of $27 billion over two years. The alliance has been calling on Congress and the administration to act and to act fast to end China’s subsidy on these parts, which appears to violate trade rules, otherwise the industry in the U.S. will go down the tubes. It supports 99,000 jobs in Illinois, Paul says.