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Washington — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters is being named to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, a bipartisan panel that monitors the Asian nation’s compliance with international human rights standards and compliance with international trade laws.

The commission issues an annual report with its findings. The appointment of Peters to replace retired Sen. Carl Levin, the Detroit Democrat who was a commission member since 2001, comes amid growing concern about currency intervention by major economies.

“I am honored to serve on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, where I will work to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices and currency manipulation, so that American companies and American workers can compete on a level playing field,” said Peters, D-Bloomfield Township. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the commission from both parties to make sure that China plays by the rules and meets their commitments to follow international trade agreements and make progress on protecting human rights.”

The commission was created by Congress in 2000, and consists of nine senators, nine members of the House of Representatives and five senior administration officials appointed by the president. Other commissioners include Dianne Feinstein, D-California; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon; and Rep. Chris Smith,.R-N.J.

Peters’ office said he supports using the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center to challenge unfair trade practices around the world, including in China.

Since 2000, the United States lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs and seen 57,000 manufacturing plants shut down. The liberal Economic Policy Institute estimated in 2011 that 1.9 million of those manufacturing jobs were lost or displaced as a result of increased trade with China and the Chinese government's manipulation of its currency.

In May 2014, the World Trade Organization found China's taxes on American-made cars and sport-utility vehicles violated international trade rules.

The U.S. Trade Representative's Office said China's unjustified duties, or tariffs, which ranged as high as 21.5 percent, affected an estimated $5.1 billion worth of U.S. auto exports in 2013, and were applied to models such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Buick Enclave, Cadillac Escalade and many others.

The duties helped prod U.S. automakers to build more vehicles in China and import fewer to China from the United States. China eliminated the duties last December after experts said it was likely they would lose the case.

DShepardson@detroitnews.com

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