IAM Eastern Territory GVP David Sullivan Sheds Light on China’s Unfair Trade Practices in Shipbuilding Industry

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2024 – IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan, a shipbuilder out of IAM Local S6 by trade, recently testified before the U.S. Trade Representative, highlighting the detrimental effects of China’s policies on U.S. commerce and the global maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sector.

“Since 2001, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) labeled shipbuilding as a ‘strategic industry,’ there has been a laundry list of China’s unfair, unreasonable, and discriminatory practices,” said Sullivan during his testimony.

Sullivan’s testimony shed light on a series of unfair, unreasonable, and discriminatory practices by China, including the protection of state-owned shipbuilders through directed mergers and the provision of below-market-price manufacturing inputs. These actions have significantly hampered the global market’s competitiveness but also offered an uneven playing field for other industry players, thereby necessitating immediate action.

The IAM, alongside four other labor unions, filed a petition on March 12, urgently urging the U.S. Trade Representative to initiate a Section 301 investigation into China’s exploitative efforts to control the maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding sectors. This crucial step aims to address the extensive and ongoing efforts by the CCP to undermine U.S. commerce and to advocate for the imposition of impactful relief measures.

“Our Machinists Union members are ready to build and maintain our 21st century naval and commercial fleet. We remain steadfast in our devotion to that goal. We urge the USTR to conduct a timely and comprehensive Section 301 investigation into China’s market-distorting actions in these sectors,” continued Sullivan. “Imposition of impactful relief measures, sufficient to address the CCP’s extensive and ongoing efforts to restrict U.S. commerce, is crucial to the long-term health of the domestic shipbuilding industry and U.S. economic and national security.”

The IAM represents thousands of workers in the shipbuilding and steel industries across the United States, including significant facilities like Bath Iron Works in Maine and Cleveland-Cliffs in Ohio.

Read the complete testimony here.



The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the largest unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airlines, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care, and other industries.

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