Categorized | CPA

Coalition ‘Fly-In’ To Rally Support For House Action On Currency Bill


The following article appeared in the Inside US-China Trade publication on March 9, 2011.

The Coalition for a Prosperous America, which represents import-sensitive U.S. manufacturers, agriculture and labor, is hosting a fly-in of its members this week to press members of Congress to sponsor the House currency bill introduced last month by Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), among other goals.

According to CPA Chief Executive Officer Michael Stumo, coalition members on March 9-10 will visit “about 25 percent” of House and Senate offices.

“Our message is that we have to produce more of what we consume, we have to neutralize the State-managed capitalism that we are being forced to unfairly compete with, and we have to balance trade in order to economically recover, because the trade deficit is a drag on GDP growth, wealth creation and job creation,” Stumo said in a March 8 interview.

U.S. trade policy “needs to acknowledge and neutralize state-managed capitalism” because the current “free trade regime does not match well and is unsuccessful” in competing against it, he added. As such, the coalition message to House and Senate members will be that “one of the first things we need to do is neutralize currency manipulation” being
engaged in by China, Korea, Japan and Singapore, among others.

Other CPA sources said new House members will be particularly targeted in the outreach. “We think the new Republicans, with their pro-America stance, should be receptive to a message of a national trade and economic strategy that’s based on being able to grow net exports,” Stumo said.

CPA will make the case to House members to support Levin’s H.R. 639, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act,which now has 107 House sponsors from both sides of the aisle. It is basically the same bill that encourages the Commerce Dept. to offset undervalued currencies as countervailable subsidies in trade remedy cases.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) has said that China currency legislation is not a priority for him in this Congress, so supporters are focused on increasing the number of cosponsors of Levin’s bill to such an extent that it becomes politically difficult to avoid a vote.

In the Senate, Democratic leaders have made legislation targeting China’s undervalued currency part of their 2011 agenda of economic initiatives meant to generate jobs and keep the U.S. competitive. But Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) seems to favor focusing on a range of Chinese trade barriers instead of largely on currency manipulation, according to informed sources.

He is expected to hold a number of hearings on China trade problems such as indigenous innovation, intellectual property rights violations and other market access problems, they said.

Another CPA source said members would be flying in from eight to ten states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Colorado. But Stumo said members would represent an even broader array of states, “from coast to coast and North to South.”
Among those on the Coalition’s board are manufacturing co-chair Brian O’Shaughnessy of New York-based Revere Copper Products; agriculture co-chair Joe Logan of the Ohio Farmers Union; and labor co-chair Bob Baugh of the AFLCIO Industrial Union Council. Baugh and fellow board member Charles Bloom are also part of the leadership of the Fair
Currency Coalition, whose principal goal is passage of currency legislation.

CPA advisory board members include economist and author Pat Choate; ex-IBM executive Ralph Gomory, now president of the Sloan Foundation; and U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commissioner Patrick Mulloy, among others.

Separately, U.S. textile companies are also visiting Washington this week and will hold a lobby day on the Hill on March 9 — but their focus will be on opposing passage of the U.S. trade pact with Korea. While visiting about 50 House offices, said an industry source, one point they will stress is that the Korea pact as negotiated will facilitate the transhipment
of Chinese-origin textile and apparel into the U.S. via Korea.


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