Original Press Release
NAM Applauds New Trade Enforcement Initiatives
Press release date: July 16, 2009
U.S. Needs to "Get What We Bargained For," Says Vargo
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 16, 2009 - National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President for International Economic Affairs Frank Vargo today issued the following statement in response to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk's speech on new trade enforcement initiatives:
The NAM applauds the new trade enforcement initiatives announced today by the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk. To build and enhance public confidence in an open trading system, the U.S. government must obtain a level playing field that yields recognizable gains for manufacturing in the United States. The U.S. government must ensure that market-distorting trade practices are addressed effectively under internationally agreed-upon rules and bilateral agreements.
U.S. trade policy must be established on two pillars: negotiation of trade agreements that reduce or eliminate foreign trade barriers to American products, and enforcement of those agreements to ensure that we get what we bargained for.
As Ambassador Kirk said, Americans benefit from trade every single day. Exports of manufactured goods support six million American jobs. America's manufacturers can compete with anyone as long as the playing field is level, and we look to the Obama Administration to do that.
We still face too many barriers overseas. Counterfeiting of American products is increasing. Subsidies, dumping and other unfair trade practices are continuing. Artificial standards and phony testing procedures are used too often to keep our products out. This must stop, and today's new initiatives are an important step in that direction. It is significant that Ambassador Kirk's remarks were delivered at a U.S. Steel Corporation plant in Pittsburgh - U.S. Steel is an NAM member and certainly has seen the "un-level" playing field firsthand.
The NAM will work with Ambassador Kirk to implement these new initiatives particularly by increased monitoring of trade practices in other countries. The NAM will immediately set up a procedure for NAM member companies to be able to identify and notify the U.S. Trade Representative of foreign trade practices that seem to break the rules.
In addition to stronger enforcement, however, we also need an aggressive approach to negotiating and passing trade agreements. The three pending agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea need to be sent to Congress and passed into law. Every day of delay costs us more lost job opportunities. We can't enforce agreements until we have them - and we want more of these great agreements so American companies get a fairer deal in world trade and create more jobs at home.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.
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