Categorized | CPA, Tax, Trade

Economic summit task force calls for currency and trade reform Read more: Economic summit task force calls for currency and trade reform

An article about CPA’s Task Force Hearing, published by Malia Spencer in the Pittsburgh Business Times blog.  Malia Spencer covers technology and manufacturing at the Pittsburgh Business Times. Click here to see the article as published in the Business Times blog.

Discussions between business groups, labor, manufacturers and government continued today with a trade and tax policy hearing hosted by Western PA Economic Summit Task Force and the Coalition for a Prosperous America where participants were able to talk about the challenges facing the country in terms of balancing trade and establishing tax policies to encourage domestic investment.

The roughly 50 participants may not have agreed on the details of how to solve these challenges, but everyone in the room agreed that these are problems that must be addressed in order for the domestic economy to truly recover.

“The point is we all agree we need reform,” said Dave Frengel, one of the organizers and director of government affairs at Penn United Technologies Inc. Discussions such as the ones being organized in Western PA are a step to developing the solutions.

The group decided the top priorities are: Supporting The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, H.R. 2378, which is currently in committee in the House, and developing a strategy to fix the tax system, including looking at a Value Added Tax in order to neutralize what is seen as a major trade disadvantage.

Frengel expects the two groups to hold more gatherings as a way to get the local leaders on all sides of the issue talking and sending the same message to Congress. He called it a grasstops movement since it targets group leaders for education on items that will eventually effect everyone as opposed to a grassroots movement that depends on education of the masses.

The expert panel was composed of: Charles Blum, president of International Advisory Services Group, and former diplomat and negotiator for the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Trade Representative; Robert Baugh, executive director of AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council; and Robert E. Scott, senior international economist and director of International Programs for the Economic Policy Institute.

Scott offered the group some sobering statistics about the economy. Between 2007 and 2009, the country lost 6.6 million jobs and 54 percent of those were in the manufacturing and construction industries.
Further more he noted the country has a “jobs hole” of 10.7 million, which is the difference in the number of jobs needed to keep up with population growth and the number of jobs between January 2008 and July 2010.
According to his estimates, if the country wants to get out of the jobs gap in four years, the economy would have to create 330,000 jobs per month.

In order to do that, the panel offered a three-part plan — address the trade deficit, which means address foreign currency manipulation and enforce trade laws; invest in clean energy to make the U.S. a leader in that industry; and increase infrastructure spending on items such as roads, bridges, waterways and airports.

Anyone looking to get involved in the task force can contact Frengel at [email protected] or Hal Martin at [email protected]


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