Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that an enforcement action filed by the U.S. against China at the World Trade Organization will benefit Qualcomm, the San Diego-based manufacturer of mobile device chips, and DJO Global, which makes medical devices in Vista.
Biden, discussing trade enforcement in an appearance at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal, said China places export duties on raw materials imported by U.S. companies, making them more expensive. In turn, the products made by the affected companies have higher prices compared to Chinese competitors.
"In the action we're taking today, we're aiming to change that," Biden said.
"Here in San Diego alone -- let me tell you what I mean -- Qualcomm, when we win, is going to pay less for Chinese tin than it pays now and no more than any Chinese company because Qualcomm makes semiconductors," Biden said.
"We'll reduce the costs of them making those semiconductors and make them more competitive, not only in this market against Chinese companies, but worldwide."
He said lower prices for cobalt will help DJO Global.
Raw materials specified in the U.S. trade complaint, besides tin, are antimony, cobalt, copper, graphite, lead, magnesia, talc and tantalum.
It's the 13th WTO complaint filed by the U.S. against China. Biden, in his speech, said America has won each enforcement action.
"All we want is a level playing field," Biden said.
According to Biden's office, the Obama administration has brought more trade enforcement cases at the WTO since 2009 than any other member, removing trade barriers and increasing export opportunities worth billions of dollars to American workers, farmers, and businesses.
The administration has issued more than 300 antidumping and countervailing duty orders, launched the first labor rights case under a free trade agreement, and signed into law bipartisan customs legislation that provides additional tools and bolsters resources for trade enforcement efforts, according to Biden's office.
The administration launched 62 trade investigation last year and will continue to be aggressive in trade enforcement, Biden said.
Trade has emerged as a major issue in the presidential campaign, with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump taking a protectionist stance by blasting the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.
Likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton supports free trade in general and has backed NAFTA, which was signed into law in 1993 by her husband, Bill Clinton. She initially supported the TPP negotiations but said she opposes the final product.
"Trade matters -- this is a global economy," Biden said.
"Not all the effects of globalization are good, but what Americans have always done is they've always bent reality to the benefit of Americans and American workers," he said. "Every new industrial change in the world -- we have adapted."
He praised officials with the Port of San Diego, which he said generates $8 billion in economic activity.
Afterward, longshoreman Mike Montoya told 10News, “If we can continue to bring business down here, as we do in other ports, that’s what we need. We’ve gotten a little more business here than we had years ago; the cruise ship industry could use a boost.”
Another longshoreman, Alfredo Perez, said, “I grew up in this neighborhood and I understand there’s only a very few jobs in this area that can make the money we make at this local.”