Canton Repository

May 23, 2003

Area execs worry about Chinese imports

PAUL M. KRAWZAK
Copley Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON — Imports from China are hurting American companies, two executives from Canton-area companies told a congressional panel Thursday.

“It’s a definite problem, and we need help,” said Bruce A. Cain, vice president of manufacturing for XCEL Mold and Machine in North Canton.

The company, which builds molds and dies for manufacturers, has lost business as customers such as Black & Decker have switched to Chinese suppliers, Cain said.

Cain was among several business executives who told a House appropriations subcommittee that China has violated trade laws since it became a member of the World Trade Organization.

They said China keeps its markets closed to U.S. exports, violates patent laws and manipulates its currency to make its products cheaper in world markets.

“We know we can build a mold as fast as China, with better quality,” said Cain. “We just can’t match their price.”

In written testimony, Grant Aldonas, U.S. undersecretary of commerce for international trade, acknowledged the complaints but said the administration is working to address violations and open Chinese markets.

Last year, he said, U.S. sales to China jumped 15 percent, a larger increase than with any other trading partner.

Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, a member of the panel, said the WTO “has been lax in bringing enforcement actions against China” for violating trade laws.

William R. Litzler, chairman of Cleveland-based C.A. Litzler Co., said Chinese competition has hurt the company, which includes a subsidiary in Canton — Quickdraft Corp. Quickdraft builds conveying and ventilation systems for industrial users.

Until the late 1990s, the company “enjoyed profitable and steady growth,” Litzler said. “Since then, we have had lower sales volume and lower employment.”