As President Trump noted in his State of the Union address, the commander-in-chief is working hard to “confront China’s massive theft of American jobs.” The negotiation of the China Phase One Trade Agreement and the recent signing of the United States, Mexico, and Canada Agreement (USMCA) show clearly that Mr. Trump is working hard every day to put American workers first.
During my time as governor of Arkansas, I worked hard to keep manufacturing jobs in my home state and across the South. Mr. Trump understands the challenges faced by American manufacturing workers and continues to stand up to foreign countries that cheat the system when it comes to international trade.
While the Trump administration fights for the forgotten men and women of America, some U.S. manufacturing industries are still feeling the pain due to China’s unfair trade practices. The United States has lost much of its furniture and textile industries, now China is targeting the American kitchen cabinet industry, which supports more than 250,000 American jobs.
Not too far from Arkansas, my good friend Paul Wellborn and his family built an American kitchen cabinet manufacturing facility in Ashland, Alabama. Wellborn Cabinetry employs 1,300 great American workers in a small rural community, supports local churches and schools and is truly the backbone of the local community. Unfortunately, due to China’s unfair trade practices, American kitchen cabinet jobs are under attack and the cabinet industry has been decimated.
Since 2015, China has increased its exports of kitchen cabinets into the United States by more than 75 percent. With this flood of imports, China now controls over 40 percent of the U.S. kitchen cabinet market with the volume and market share only rapidly increasing.
Do you think China-government subsidized companies that export their cabinets are making contributions to your community’s youth sports, local churches, or the arts? They take much, but they give nothing. But the real issue is that they can’t compete with American products or prices unless they cheat. It’s time to throw the flag, assess the penalties and demand they play by the rules or get off the field.
The surge of dumped and subsidized Chinese imports has led to job losses, plant closures, wage reductions, and other forms of harm across the entire U.S. industry. When it comes to saving jobs across America’s heartland, we cannot allow China to destroy another great American manufacturing industry.
As President Trump and his team work to Keep America Great, we must stand with American kitchen cabinet workers and their families by supporting trade cases that are pending before the International Trade Commission and Department of Commerce. These cases seek to level the playing field for American kitchen cabinet workers and put to end to China’s unfair trade practices.
What makes this case challenging for 250,000 American workers, is that the American kitchen cabinet industry is not as prominent as other industries under attack, but the consequences are no less dire. If nothing changes, the American kitchen cabinet industry will be destroyed by China’s cheating and America cannot afford that risk. But as we say in the South, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that determines the outcome.”
The cabinet industry may not be the biggest dog in the fight against illegal and unfair trade, but it’s ready to bring the fight to save the livelihoods of a quarter of a million American families who pay U.S. taxes, hold skilled jobs, and just want to compete where the cheaters aren’t allowed to win.
At its core, it’s not a Red issue or a Blue issue, it’s about putting American values and American workers first. That is why a bipartisan group of 25 U.S. senators signed a letter calling on the International Trade Commission to “fairly enforce our trade laws.” Furthermore, 45 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have also come out in support of American kitchen cabinet workers and their families as they fight to save their industry.
Some globalists don’t fully appreciate the pain and the challenges that millions of American manufacturing workers face every day. Under President Trump, American manufacturing workers know they have a fighter who is working for them. Millions of these American workers stood strong with President Trump in 2016 and they will do so again in November 2020 if he continues to fight for them.
Under President Trump’s leadership, the forgotten men and women of America will be forgotten no more. Let’s level the playing for the American kitchen cabinet industry and stand up for 250,000 American workers as we work together to Keep America Great.
• Mike Huckabee was the 44th governor of Arkansas and a 2016 Republican candidate for president. He is currently host of “Huckabee” on TBN and a Fox News contributor.