Tag Archive | "CPA"

First Step in China Trade Policy—Stop Currency Manipulation


The following article by Mike Hall appeared on the “afl-cio now” blog here.

The U.S. government, American businesses and consumers all can play a role in combating China’s unfair trade policies that are weakening the nation’s economy, stealing jobs and giving China unparalleled economic advantages.

But the first steps must be taken by the government to declare China a currency manipulator—either through legislation or executive action—and then follow through with sanctions if China fails to respond, said a panel of trade and economic experts this morning at a special China trade policy forum in Washington, D.C.

The forum, sponsored by the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), used the recent book Death by China: Confronting the Dragon—A Global Call to Action as the jumping off point for the discussion.

Authors Peter Navarro, professor of economics and public policy at the University of California-Irvine, and Greg Autry, an entrepreneur and educator, explore China’s trade policies, near nonexistent workers’ rights laws, environmental standards, product safety rules and its military and espionage actions. Death by China shows how those policies threaten the U.S. economy and jobs.

Immediate action must be taken on currency manipulation, said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden.

Part one is currency manipulation. While it’s not the whole story it’s a big part of it….I could show you a graph that is a textbook example of currency manipulation and it would look exactly like China’s currency manipulation today.

The Chinese government keeps its currency low, which artificially reduces the prices of its exports, creates a huge trade deficit for the United States and costs millions of American jobs. Last year, the U.S. House passed legislation (388-79) that would give the government broader powers to enforce currency manipulation rules and impose sanctions. But the Senate has failed to act because of pressure from multinational corporations, said some panelists.

The Obama administration could act on its own and declare China a currency manipulator. “We need our own government to do its job,” said AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee. Whatever action is taken, she said, “must include a credible threat of sanctions.”

Lee also noted that while most U.S. companies that do business in China have “corporate codes of conduct,” workers there suffer serious abuses, work in dangerous conditions for low wages and have no rights to join real unions. Not only do China’s practices lower even further production costs but they violate most so-called codes of conduct because in a “wink-wink” arrangement, China factory owners:

hire monitors to inspect their faculties to see if corporate code of conduct is being followed. They call up and say “We’ll be here next month, make sure everything’s cleaned up, that you’re not dumping poison in the river. We’ll see you the morning of March 22.” The market economy cannot function unless we have business rules of conduct.

Rob Dumont, a CPA director and president of the Tooling, Manufacturing and Technologies Association, said that while on paper products from China must meet U.S. safety, environmental and other standards, they often don’t, giving firms in China another big economic advantage.

He used the experience of an Alabama steelmaker as an example. The manufacturer was losing orders to much cheaper steel from China that was certified as meeting U.S. standards. But they sent a fact-finding team to China and discovered that not only did the plant have no environmental controls,

the lab that was supposed to certify the steel grade didn’t even have the equipment to properly conduct the tests. Back in the U.S., we sent a sample to a U.S. lab that confirmed the suspicion that the steel was inferior in quality and strength. This steel goes into critical applications like nuclear plants, and bridges and buildings. This happens day in and day out and one day we’ll pay the price with a catastrophic failure.

Along with enforcing current trade laws and developing new trade standards, Novarro and Autry offer several ways for consumers and business to combat the flood of cheap made in China products that steal American jobs. In Death by China, they write: “Cheap isn’t always the cheapest—Change our attitude.”

Besides the price you pay in the tag, you also have to factor in the risks of injury or death, the increased chances that you or someone you know will lose their job because the unfair trade practices involved in delivering that Chinese product to the market and the various regulatory and taxpayer costs that Chinese product failure entails.

Further, write Novarro and Autry, businesses must recognize the real corporate risk of offshoring in China.

Obvious risks include the loss of the company’s intellectual property, either through outright theft or via China’s policy of forced technology transfers and forced relocation of research and development to Chinese soil….Other risks range from endemic corruption to severe pollution, to the need to scale China’s Great Wall of Protectionism.

American executives offshoring to China must remove their rose-colored glasses and do a far more comprehensive risk assessment….Such a sober look at the real risks associated with offshoring to China should in turn power a new “reshoring” that brings jobs back to America.”

Posted in CurrencyComments (2)

PRESS RELEASE: Coffman RESTART Act Creates Rare Earths Supply Chain


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: JOE MEGYESY
April 6, 2011
(202) 744-0288

Coffman RESTART Act Creates Rare Earths Supply Chain
Seeks to Curtail Dangerous Reliance on China for Critical Materials

(WASHINGTON) -  U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) today introduced legislation to avert a U.S. rare earth supply crisis by restoring our nation’s production of rare earth metals. Coffman’s bipartisan bill, H.R. 1388, the Rare Earths Supply-Chain Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2011 (RESTART Act), would achieve this by reestablishing a domestic rare earth industry in the United States.

“Currently, the world is nearly 100 percent reliant on Chinese exports for these critical materials and China’s trade policies of restricting rare earth exports pose a serious threat to both the economic and national security of the United States,” Coffman said.

China supplies about 95 percent of the world’s rare earth metals, used in everything from wind turbines, electric car batteries, television sets, smart phones, and advanced weapons systems.  Chinese officials have announced a decision to cut exports of rare earth metals by 35 percent in the first half of 2011.

“The Chinese government-ordered reduction in rare earth metals exports demonstrates the urgent need for us to act to correct our rare earth supply chain vulnerability,” Coffman said.

Coffman, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, became alarmed in early 2009 when he learned that many U.S. defense contractors rely heavily on Chinese exports of rare earth metals to make everything from night vision goggles, tanks, and fighter aircraft, to precision guided munitions.  This reliance on China poses a key vulnerability according to Coffman.

Coffman’s comprehensive, bipartisan legislation will put in place mechanisms to assist U.S. companies with meeting their needs for rare earth metals and ensures our national security needs are met in the near term.

Key provisions of the legislation include:

  • Directing appropriate federal agencies to expedite the permitting process in order to increase the exploration and development of domestic rare earth elements, without waiving environmental laws, and establishing a multi-agency Task Force to carry out this process;
  • Setting up a Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) rare earth inventory — where DLA enters into long-term supply contracts and then makes the supplies available for purchase to federal government contractors — to generate a domestic market and facilitate the domestic sourcing of rare earth alloys and magnets;
  • Making loans, backed by the federal government, available to start production should lending from the capital markets not be available;
  • Requiring the various cabinet Secretaries to appoint Executive Agents for rare earths;
  • Establishing a rare earth program at the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Our nation must act to protect our security interests with regard to rare earth elements,” Coffman said. “China is neither an ally of the United States nor is it a reliable trade partner when it comes to these strategic metals.”

Coffman’s legislation has the support of the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) and the United States Magnet Materials Association (USMMA) and their members who are most affected by the disruption in the rare earth metals market.

“The manufacturing, agriculture and worker members of CPA are pleased to support Rep. Coffman’s RESTART Act,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA.  “America needs a national strategy to address the unfair trade tactics of other countries which harm our economic growth and our workers.  The RESTART Act will provide a strategy to help jump start American innovation and neutralize the Chinese government’s attempts to freeze our country out of the many new technologies for which rare earth materials are needed.”

The USMMA, a coalition of companies representing domestic high performance magnet producers and suppliers, “applauded Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman for introducing legislation to address the impending rare earths crisis” in a statement.

Posted in TechnologyComments Off

Western Pennsylvania officials, companies join call for currency reform


The following article by Joe Napsha appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review here. CPA’s Pennsylvania Chapter Chair, Dave Frengel, is quoted as well.

China’s practice of undervaluing its currency to make its exports cheaper in the United States must be changed for manufacturing to recover from the recession, say Western Pennsylvania officials and companies.

“We want fair trade, not unfair trade. We feel that China has gamed the system to the point that instead of their currency inflating, it continues to go down against the dollar to make their goods cheaper,” said Jeff Pfeifer, CEO of MLP Steel LLC of Scottdale, which makes rods and heavy-duty steel bars at its Laurel Steel and Fayette Steel divisions.

“We continue to see an erosion of our manufacturing base that are our customers, and we’re seeing fewer customers in the U.S.,” said Pfeifer, who has worked in the steel business since 1972.

The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act of 2010, which is aimed at eliminating currency manipulation by China, was attached this week to a Senate bill to extend tax cuts implemented under President George W. Bush.

By passing the bill, the Commerce Department could slap a levy on imports from countries that the government determines has undervalued their currency against the U.S. dollar by an average of 5 percent over an 18-month period.

“They game the system in every way possible. China is cheating in a variety of ways,” U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, told about 55 business representatives this week at an event sponsored by SMC Business Councils, a Churchill organization representing about 5,000 businesses in the state.

Passage of the bill is important to change the direction of America’s trade policy, to globalize trade in a way that is fair to all countries, said David Frengel, government affairs director for Penn United Technologies Inc. of Saver, a precision machining company.

“We sent a signal across the world that we need to have a real conversation on how to do that,” to change the direction of trade policy, Frengel said.

Frengel is a member of the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a nonprofit that has pushed passage of the currency reform legislation in Congress.

House approval of the bill in September has changed the dialogue about trade issues, challenging how China’s currency policy affects trade, he said.

“It sent repercussions throughout the world … the day after it was passed,” Frengel said.

Gilbert Koedel, an advisory board member for Bon Tool Co. of Richland, which makes tools for construction trades, questioned how effective the legislation would be toward reducing trade deficits or boosting manufacturing. Bon Tool has an engineering operation in India and a commercial sourcing office in Shanghai, China.

“It’s a short-term thing. It’s not going to remedy the problem. It going to cost the consumer more with the tariffs because prices will go up,” Koedel said.

Manufacturing in the United States would be better served by reducing its cost structure problem, Koedel said. Costs related to health care, regulations and labor, among others, have more of an impact on American manufacturers competing in the world, he said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not believe the currency reform bill will achieve the goal of getting China to move rapidly toward a market-determined exchange rate, spokesman David Natonski said.

The chamber joined 35 other trade associations in stating that “this legislation will do more harm than good to job creation and economic growth at a time when we need both dearly.”

Posted in CurrencyComments (1)

Invitation: CPA-PA Holiday Salute, Monday, 12/20/10, 6:00pm


November 12, 2010

Dear Friends:

Please join us on December 20, 2010, in Pittsburgh, PA for the Coalition for a Prosperous America’s “CPA Holiday Salute”, a night of celebration, fellowship, and planning ahead.

The CPA Holiday Salute will feature special honored guests, Congressmen Tim Murphy and Tim Ryan.  We will celebrate the passage of the Currency Reform and Fair Trade Act in the House due to their efforts.  The event will focus on how CPA is working both locally and nationally to provide good jobs, a path to economic recovery, and new opportunities for manufacturers, ranchers and farmers while strengthening national security and sovereignty.

As a business and civic leader, we invite you to join us for food, drink, and celebration.

WHEN: December 20, 2010, 6pm

WHERE: Sheraton Station Square Hotel, 300 West Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, PA

COST: $55.00 pre registration, $60 at the door.

Please register here at your earliest convenience.  Also, consider buying an ad for the event program.

For more information, please contact Hal Martin (724-777-0847, [email protected]).

Thank you!  We hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Sara Haimowitz
Development Coordinator
Coalition for a Prosperous America

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Invitation: “A Rising Tide” — December 15, 2010, Colorado Springs, CO


November 8, 2010

Dear Friends:

Please join us on December 15, 2010, in Colorado Springs, CO for a free dinner event entitled “A Rising Tide”.

“A Rising Tide” will focus on how CPA is working both locally and nationally to provide good jobs, a path to economic recovery, and new opportunities for manufacturers, ranchers and farmers while strengthening national security and sovereignty.  The evening will be about jobs, trade and the state of the American economy.  We believe the information is of critical importance to you and to your community.

As a business and civic leader, we invite you to join us for a complimentary dinner, informative presentation by the CPA, and stirring performance by one of America’s favorite Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin (as portrayed by Christopher Lowell).

“A Rising Tide” is also a fundraiser and membership drive.  Attendees will be asked to consider making a contribution.  However, there is no minimum gift required and no charge for dinner because we want everyone to come.

“A Rising Tide” will be an exceptional event attended by a very special segment of the Colorado Springs community.  We hope you can join us.

WHEN: December 15, 2010: 6pm, pre event cocktails; 6:30pm, dinner and “A Rising Tide”

WHERE: The Club at Flying Horse, Blake Room, 1880 Weiskopf Point, Colorado Springs, CO.

Register:  Space is limited, so please register here at your earliest convenience.  Also, please consider bringing a guest or guests who you feel would benefit from the information and experience.

Click here to register for the event.  For more information, please contact me (413-341-3166,  [email protected]).

Thank you!  We hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Sara Haimowitz
Development Coordinator
Coalition for a Prosperous America

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Invitation: 10/14/10 - Ohio Senate Candidate Forum on Jobs, Trade, and Economic Recovery


September 16, 2010

Dear Friends:

Please attend CPA’s Ohio Senate Candidate Forum on Jobs, Trade and Economic Recovery.  The Ohio Chapter of the Coalition for a Prosperous America is hosting this exciting event in conjunction with several influential Ohio organizations and businesses.

Jobs, trade and the economic recovery are the fundamental issues requiring smart leadership in America.  The Candidate Forum will enable you to question Lee Fisher and Rob Portman on what they will do, if elected, to fix the U.S. trade deficit, create jobs and help Ohio’s and America’s economy recovery.

  • Lee Fisher (D) - Confirmed
  • Rob Portman (R) - Invited

REGISTER ONLINE NOW

Where:
Sheraton Suites
Akron/Cuyahoga Falls
1989 Front St.
Cuyahoga Falls, OH

When:
October 14, 2010, 8:30a

Cost:
Free.  Register here for this event

Co Sponsoring Organizations include:

Concerned Citizen
Fredon Corporation
Northeast Ohio Campaign for American Manufacturing
Ohio Conference on Fair Trade
Ohio Farmers Union
Roger Sustar
Shawnee District Labor Council, AFL-CIO
USW District 1
Xcel Mold
Ohio AFL-CIO
Ohio Environmental Council
Portage Mold and Die
Banco Die
Summit County Machine Group
Parr Green Mold and Machine
McAfee Tool and Die
ProMold Gauer

For more information, call Sara Haimowitz, CPA Development Coordinator, 413-341-3166, [email protected]

REGISTER ONLINE NOW:
THIS IS AN ELECTION YEAR-IT’S IMPORTANT TO HOLD YOUR CANDIDATES ACCOUNTABLE.

Sincerely,

Michael Stumo
CEO
The Coalition for a Prosperous America

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CPA Letter to Representatives Boehner and Cantor


The following letter was faxed to Representatives Boehner and Cantor regarding a National Trade and Economic Strategy.

September 14, 2010

Honorable John Boehner, Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
H–204 The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Eric Cantor
U.S. House of Representatives
329 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Re: National Trade and Economic Strategy

Dear Representatives Boehner and Cantor:

The Coalition for a Prosperous America, a nonpartisan group, urges that the Republican members of the House of Representatives advance a positive agenda for promoting sustained economy growth during the remaining days of this Congress.  CPA represents the common interests of 2.7 million households through our manufacturing, agricultural and labor organization members.  We are united in support of making and growing things in America, generating jobs and wealth here, and rebalancing trade with the rest of the world.  We cannot recover from the Great Recession unless we produce more of what we consume.

Balancing trade is a top priority because the trade deficit subtracts directly from GDP and discourages investment in the U.S.  Balanced trade can be a powerful driver of economic growth and full employment.  Our trading partners know this.  The countries with which we have the largest deficits have coordinated strategies to promote their trade interest; we often act as if we do not.

Past policies have wrongly focused on merely expanding exports or export opportunities. Under President Bush, for example, exports doubled from 2002 to 2008 but the “net trade” result was a series of debilitating record trade deficits.  An essential element of a smart trade policy is tough enforcement of the trade rules.  Whenever our trade rivals engage in illegal activities such as currency manipulation and technology theft, we must challenge them promptly, efficiently and effectively.

Just as important, we need goals and policies of our own.   We need a coherent national economic and trade strategy.  CPA is joined by over 400 organizations, companies and prominent individuals in supporting “Fixing America’s Economy II:  Rebuilding America’s Jobs, Wealth and Power” (see attached copy)  This is the sort of strategy we need to compete with state-managed economies which are currently causing the trade imbalances that harm America’s economy.

Earlier this summer, the House took commendable first steps in defining that response.  Two elements are particularly relevant to our concerns.

1.    National Manufacturing Strategy Act, HR 492.  This bill was passed by the House on July 28, and was previously endorsed by CPA.  It is a positive bill which crafts an initial method to achieve a national strategy for manufacturing.  The bill needs more detail and execution, but is a positive step.

2.    A bill To establish the Emergency Trade Deficit Commission, HR 1875.  This bill passed the House by voice vote on July 28.  We appreciate its goal to establish a commission to devise a detailed plan to reduce the trade deficit.  Increased focus on both sides of the trade deficit is key so we no longer rely on misleading rhetoric like “double exports,” “expand export opportunities,” or mere “innovation.”

We would encourage you to consider the following additions to a Republican agenda to lay the groundwork for sustained prosperity in the U.S.

1.    The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, HR 2378:  This bipartisan bill, sponsored by Representative Tim Ryan, addresses the critical problem of currency manipulation by trading rivals.  We will never be able to balance trade and achieve prosperity and full employment unless we end this illegal mercantilist practice.  In the case of China, it amounts to a 40 percent hidden tariff on our exports and a 40 percent hidden subsidy to their exports and to foreign investors.  As such it is a major driver of outsourcing.  This bill would merely establish an enforcement mechanism by using WTO-consistent trade remedies under our trade laws.

2.    RESTART Act (Rare Earth Supply-Chain Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2010), HR 4866.  Backed by Representative Mike Coffman and 17 bipartisan cosponsors, this bill provides for a national strategy on rare earth elements in the face of China’s virtual monopoly on global production.  Rare earth elements are indispensable to our national defense and a wide range of advanced technology fields including advanced automotive propulsion batteries, electric motors, high efficiency light bulbs, solar panels and wind turbines.  To achieve expected gains in renewable energy, we must have a strategy to get there.  Developing a plan to mine and process rare earth elements and manufacture renewable energy relevant goods in America is a good start to achieving a national trade and economic strategy.

Longer term, an effective national trade and economic strategy must address the problem of foreign border tax adjustments, which is quantifiably the biggest trade distorting factor we face abroad.  Nearly all our trading partners impose their value added tax on our exports of goods and services.  They also rebate their tax on exports.  The result is our exports are double taxed with both U.S. taxes and foreign border taxes (which are like tariffs).  We have no strategy for dealing with this massive two-way trade disadvantage.  Our bilateral trade agreements do not address this issue.

Lastly, we encourage you to expand the Buy America plan to all government procurement to the fullest extent permitted by our international obligations, and require technologies developed through government R and D funding to be utilized and manufactured in America.  There is no reason for – and no benefit to — U.S. taxpayers to develop new innovations which are then shipped overseas.

Thank you for your leadership.  We would welcome further discussions on the topic of a truly effective and efficient trade and economic strategy for your use and messaging.

Respectfully,

Brian O’Shaughnessy, Chief Co-Chair, Manufacturing Co-Chair

Joe Logan, Agriculture Co-Chair

Robert Baugh, Labor Co-Chair

FIXING AMERICA’S ECONOMY II:
REBUILDING AMERICAN JOBS, WEALTH AND POWER

America’s economy faces an ongoing structural crisis that contributed directly to the 2008-9 financial meltdown and limits the scope for a sustained recovery.   The old means of economic growth – over-consumption, off-shoring, and borrowing – have seriously undermined the national interest.  To resume sustainable growth, generate jobs and pay down our spiraling debt, we need to make fundamental changes in the American economy.  We also face a profound political crisis.  Our governmental system currently lacks the ability to articulate and pursue ambitious national goals.

A bold national vision is needed to equip America to compete successfully in a global economy.  America must reorganize its creative, financial and governmental resources to meet a few fundamental challenges coherently, effectively and urgently.   A successful strategy will improve the standard of living for current and future American families, restore value to our currency, realign corporate with national interests, and reinforce the U.S. position as the paramount world leader.

To that end, we challenge all holders and seekers of public office to commit to the solutions presented here.

ESTABLISH a comprehensive national economic strategy centered on investment and production - of agricultural and manufactured goods and services - in the United States.

REBALANCE our international trade by achieving genuine reciprocity, especially with systems of state capitalism whose practices are beyond the reach of existing international rules and domestic law.  This must include a review of all existing international agreements, as well as establishment by law of higher standards for future international agreements.

NULLIFY the subsidy effects of currency misalignments by the application of effective trade measures.

MODERNIZE the U.S. tax system to provide competitive incentives to invest in this country, ensure that imports pay their fair share of taxes, and remove government-imposed cost impediments to American exports.

DEVELOP and IMPLEMENT a national infrastructure plan to convert our communications, transportation and energy distribution systems into a national competitive asset.  A principal objective must be to maximize the use of domestically produced goods on all projects funded with taxpayer revenues.

ACHIEVE energy independence by expanding domestic production and efficiency through investment and the development and application of new technologies.

REGULATE financial and goods markets effectively to deter excessive risk-taking and abuse of market power, while ensuring the safety of all goods sold in the U.S, whether produced domestically or abroad.

REVAMP the federal government’s economic decision-making to facilitate the development, implementation, and continuous adaptation of a strategy to ensure that innovative technologies are applied in this country.

The challenge is great, and time is short.  We need action.  We need it now.

Posted in TradeComments Off

CPA Letter to Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer and Van Hollen


The following letter was faxed to Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer and Van Hollen regarding the House Democrats’ “Make It in America” Agenda.
September 16, 2010

Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
235 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Honorable Steny Hoyer
Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
1705 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Honorable Chris Van Hollen
U.S. House of Representatives
1701 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Re: House Democrats’ “Make It in America” Agenda
Dear Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer and Van Hollen:

The Coalition for a Prosperous America, a nonpartisan group, is pleased that you are developing a “Make It in America” agenda during the remaining days of this Congress. CPA represents the common interests of 2.7 million households through our manufacturing, agricultural and labor organization members.  We are united in support of making and growing things in America, generating jobs and wealth here, and rebalancing trade with the rest of the world.  We cannot recover from the Great Recession unless we produce more of what we consume.

Balancing trade is a top priority because the trade deficit subtracts directly from GDP and discourages net investment in the U.S.  Balanced trade would be a powerful driver of economic growth and full employment.  Our trading partners know this.  The countries with which we have the largest deficits have coordinated strategies to promote their trade interest; we often act as if we do not.

Past policies have wrongly focused on merely expanding exports or export opportunities. Under President Bush, for example, exports doubled from 2002 to 2008 but the “net trade” result was a series of debilitating record trade deficits.  An essential element of a smart trade policy is tough enforcement of the trade rules.  Whenever our trade rivals engage in illegal activities such as currency manipulation and technology theft, we must challenge them promptly, efficiently and effectively.

Just as important, we need goals and policies of our own.  We need a coherent national economic and trade strategy.  CPA is joined by over 400 organizations, companies and prominent individuals in supporting “Fixing America’s Economy II:  Rebuilding America’s Jobs, Wealth and Power” (see attached copy)  This is the sort of strategy we need to compete with state-managed economies which are currently causing the trade imbalances that harm America’s economy.

Your “Make It in America” plan is a commendable first step in defining that response.  Two elements are particularly relevant to our concerns.

1.    National Manufacturing Strategy Act, HR 492.  This bill was passed by the House on July 28, and was previously endorsed by CPA.  It is a positive bill which crafts an initial method to achieve a national strategy for manufacturing.  The bill needs more detail and execution, but is a positive step.

2.    A bill To establish the Emergency Trade Deficit Commission, HR 1875.  This bill passed the House by voice vote on July 28.  We appreciate its goal to establish a commission to devise a detailed plan to reduce the trade deficit.  Increased focus on both sides of the trade deficit is key so we no longer rely on misleading rhetoric like “double exports,” “expand export opportunities,” or mere “innovation.”

We would encourage you to consider the following additions to your “Make It in America” agenda to lay the groundwork for sustained prosperity in the U.S.

1.    The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, HR 2378:  This bipartisan bill, sponsored by Representative Tim Ryan, addresses the critical problem of currency manipulation by trading rivals.  We will never be able to balance trade and achieve prosperity and full employment unless we end this illegal mercantilist practice.  In the case of China, it amounts to a 40 percent hidden tariff on our exports and a 40 percent hidden subsidy to their exports and to foreign investors.  As such it is a major driver of outsourcing.  This bill would merely establish an enforcement mechanism by using WTO-consistent trade remedies under our trade laws.  It deserves to be included in your “Make It in America” plan and to be voted on this year.

2.    RESTART Act (Rare Earth Supply-Chain Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2010), HR 4866.  Backed by Representative Mike Coffman and 17 bipartisan cosponsors, this bill provides for a national strategy on rare earth elements in the face of China’s virtual monopoly on global production.  Rare earth elements are indispensable to our national defense and a wide range of advanced technology fields including advanced automotive propulsion batteries, electric motors, high efficiency light bulbs, solar panels and wind turbines.  To achieve expected gains in renewable energy, we must have a strategy to get there.  Developing a plan to mine and process rare earth elements and manufacture renewable energy relevant goods in America is a good start to achieving a national trade and economic strategy.  We hope you include this bill in your “Make It in America” plan.

Longer term, an effective national trade and economic strategy must address the problem of foreign border tax adjustments, which is quantifiably the biggest trade distorting factor we face abroad.  Nearly all our trading partners impose their value added tax on our exports of goods and services.  They also rebate their tax on exports.  The result is our exports are double taxed with both U.S. taxes and foreign border taxes (which are like tariffs).  We have no strategy for dealing with this massive two-way trade disadvantage.  Our bilateral trade agreements do not address this issue.

Lastly, we encourage you to expand the Buy America plan to all government procurement to the fullest extent permitted by our international obligations, and require technologies developed through government R and D funding to be utilized and manufactured in America.  There is no reason for – and no benefit to — U.S. taxpayers to develop new innovations which are then shipped overseas.

Thank you for your leadership.  We would like to have the opportunity to meet with you to further discuss the “Make It in America” plan.

Respectfully,

Brian O’Shaughnessy, Chief Co-Chair, Manufacturing Co-Chair

Joe Logan, Agriculture Co-Chair

Robert Baugh, Labor Co-Chair

FIXING AMERICA’S ECONOMY II:
REBUILDING AMERICAN JOBS, WEALTH AND POWER

America’s economy faces an ongoing structural crisis that contributed directly to the 2008-9 financial meltdown and limits the scope for a sustained recovery.   The old means of economic growth – over-consumption, off-shoring, and borrowing – have seriously undermined the national interest.  To resume sustainable growth, generate jobs and pay down our spiraling debt, we need to make fundamental changes in the American economy.  We also face a profound political crisis.  Our governmental system currently lacks the ability to articulate and pursue ambitious national goals.

A bold national vision is needed to equip America to compete successfully in a global economy.  America must reorganize its creative, financial and governmental resources to meet a few fundamental challenges coherently, effectively and urgently.   A successful strategy will improve the standard of living for current and future American families, restore value to our currency, realign corporate with national interests, and reinforce the U.S. position as the paramount world leader.

To that end, we challenge all holders and seekers of public office to commit to the solutions presented here.

ESTABLISH a comprehensive national economic strategy centered on investment and production - of agricultural and manufactured goods and services - in the United States.

REBALANCE
our international trade by achieving genuine reciprocity, especially with systems of state capitalism whose practices are beyond the reach of existing international rules and domestic law.  This must include a review of all existing international agreements, as well as establishment by law of higher standards for future international agreements.

NULLIFY the subsidy effects of currency misalignments by the application of effective trade measures.

MODERNIZE the U.S. tax system to provide competitive incentives to invest in this country, ensure that imports pay their fair share of taxes, and remove government-imposed cost impediments to American exports.

DEVELOP and IMPLEMENT a national infrastructure plan to convert our communications, transportation and energy distribution systems into a national competitive asset.  A principal objective must be to maximize the use of domestically produced goods on all projects funded with taxpayer revenues.

ACHIEVE
energy independence by expanding domestic production and efficiency through investment and the development and application of new technologies.

REGULATE financial and goods markets effectively to deter excessive risk-taking and abuse of market power, while ensuring the safety of all goods sold in the U.S, whether produced domestically or abroad.

REVAMP the federal government’s economic decision-making to facilitate the development, implementation, and continuous adaptation of a strategy to ensure that innovative technologies are applied in this country.

The challenge is great, and time is short.  We need action.  We need it now.

Posted in TradeComments Off

Invitation: 9/11/10 - Smart Trade-Fixing Illinois’ Economy


The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) and the the Democratic Party of DuPage County would like to invite you to an important event:

Smart Trade-Fixing Illinois’ Economy

CPA is working hard this election season to (1) identify the positions of candidates; (2) educate candidates on our issues; and (3) present our trade and economy solutions to activists in both parties.  The Democratic Party of DuPage County has invited Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA, to speak at their quarterly meeting on September 11, 2010.  Mr. Stumo will present CPA’s trade and economic advocacy on behalf of those who make and grow things in the U.S.  He will discuss voters’ deep concern about fixing trade and fundamentally rebuilding the economy and will advocate that local party activists demand that their candidates and state parties have proper positions on these issues.

CPA is a bipartisan alliance promoting a new and positive U.S. trade policy that delivers prosperity and security to America, its citizens, farms, factories, and working people.  CPA represents the interests of 2.7 million households through its manufacturing, agriculture, and organized labor association and company members. CPA believes that America can provide good jobs for workers, affordable goods for consumers, opportunity for farms and manufacturers and a clean environment without compromising our national sovereignty and security.

Here are the details of the event:

When: September 11, 2010, 11:15 am, light lunch included

Where: IBEW Hall, 28600 Bella Vista Parkway, Warrenville, IL 60155

Cost: Free

Please register at this page so we can reserve a lunch for you.

For more information, call Sara Haimowitz, CPA Development Coordinator (413-344-3166, or [email protected]).

Posted in CPAComments Off

Fixing Illinois’ Economy


The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) and the the Democratic Party of DuPage County would like to invite you to an important event:

Smart Trade-Fixing Illinois’ Economy

CPA is working hard this election season to (1) identify the positions of candidates; (2) educate candidates on our issues; and (3) present our trade and economy solutions to activists in both parties.  The Democratic Party of DuPage County has invited Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA, to speak at their quarterly meeting on September 11, 2010.  Mr. Stumo will present CPA’s trade and economic advocacy on behalf of those who make and grow things in the U.S.  He will discuss voters’ deep concern about fixing trade and fundamentally rebuilding the economy and will advocate that local party activists demand that their candidates and state parties have proper positions on these issues.

CPA is a bipartisan alliance promoting a new and positive U.S. trade policy that delivers prosperity and security to America, its citizens, farms, factories, and working people.  CPA represents the interests of 2.7 million households through its manufacturing, agriculture, and organized labor association and company members. CPA believes that America can provide good jobs for workers, affordable goods for consumers, opportunity for farms and manufacturers and a clean environment without compromising our national sovereignty and security.

Here are the details of the event:

When: September 11, 2010, 11:15 am, light lunch included

Where: IBEW Hall, 28600 Bella Vista Parkway, Warrenville, IL 60155

Cost: Free

Please register at this page so we can reserve a lunch for you.

For more information, call Sara Haimowitz, CPA Development Coordinator (413-344-3166, or [email protected]) or Amy Tauchman, Democratic Party of  DuPage Executive Director (630-629-1125 or [email protected]).

Sincerely,

Sara Haimowitz
Development Coordinator
The Coalition for a Prosperous America

Posted in CPAComments (1)

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