PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 6406, TRADE LAWS MODIFICATION -- (House of Representatives - December 08, 2006)
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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I want to particularly thank my colleague from the State of Florida for the time.
Madam Speaker, I rise to oppose the rule for consideration of H.R. 6346 because under today's marshal law and the closed rule before us, no amendments were made in order.
I oppose this legislation, and I particularly want to reference a provision which allows the administration to revoke India's competitive need limitations waivers on certain items after 6 months. Although India continues its economic development, the vast majority of Indians are still desperately poor. The GSP program has become very important to India's smaller businesses, such as the jewelry industry.
Approximately 325,000 workers employed by the Indian jewelry industry, many of whom are from the countryside and are extremely poor, depend on GSP benefits. By providing alternative employment opportunities, the jewelry industry is helping to address the challenges India faces with increasing unemployment and desperation in rural areas, particularly for vulnerable populations such as women and low-skilled workers. It has afforded workers and their families access to basic necessities, such as basic education and health care.
From a development standpoint, restricting GSP benefits for India would have an adverse effect on this progress. These workers will simply lose their jobs, putting a tremendous burden on them and their families.
In addition, India is an important source of diamond jewelry to American jewelers today. Revoking these benefits would significantly increase the cost of many jewelry products for jewelers and their customers here, causing real harm to the industry in the United States.
The contention for revoking these benefits is to allow smaller GSP beneficiary countries to develop this industry. However, it would not increase sourcing from these lesser-developed countries or from domestic sources here in the United States. Instead, the U.S. market would simply turn straight to China, which is extremely cost competitive and has a well-established industry.
So I urge the administration to disregard the authority that is given under this bill to revoke India's competitive-need limitations. I hope the President will recognize the importance this program has on India's poor.
Again, I would urge Members to vote ``no'' on the rule and also on the subsequent bill.
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