PASCRELL HOPEFUL FOR NEW TRADE MODEL AS FAST TRACK EXPIRES
As the Bush Administration's fast track trade negotiating authority is set to expire on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade called for a new approach to America's trade policy.
"The expiration of fast track opens an opportunity for Congress to regain a strong voice in negotiating international trade deals," stated Pascrell. "This is our chance to stop the erosion of Article I Section 8 in the U.S. Constitution, and give Congress back its constitutionally mandated power to regulate foreign commerce. I was pleased to learn from House Leadership today that renewal of the President's fast track authority will not be a legislative priority in this Congress."
Fast track trade negotiating authority is an expedited procedure for congressional consideration of certain trade agreements. This process is tied to the President's authority provided by Congress to enter into trade agreements to reduce U.S. tariff and non-tariff barriers with other countries. The fast track authority provides that Congress will consider trade agreement implementing bills within mandatory deadlines, with a limitation on debate, and without amendment.
"Despite my strong opposition, President Bush was regrettably given fast track trade authority in 2002. Instead of using it to give America a competitive edge in the global marketplace, the Bush Administration negotiated an ill-advised series of one-sided trade relationships that have decimated America's manufacturing base and splintered our middle-class. The President would be foolhardy to expect a return of such unbridled power."
"A new trade deal that reflects the President's failure to negotiate international commerce in a way that benefits America will arrive gift wrapped in South Korea tomorrow. The South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KFTA) that will be signed does nothing to promote fair market access of American manufactured products in South Korea. It is yet another example of a giveaway to a foreign manufacturer that will serve to further expand of our trade deficit."
In addition to an $800 billion trade deficit that has contributed to the loss of one in six American manufacturing jobs, domestic manufacturers are faced with a $379 billion disadvantage caused by foreign borer-adjusted tax schemes.
On June 7, 2007 Pascrell introduced the Border Tax Equity Act which would strengthen America's domestic production capability by addressing the Value Added Tax (VAT) and negating an unfair tax burden being levied on American manufacturers and service providers.
"It is about time we start to remove some the hurdles that domestic producers are forced to jump every time they do business in the global marketplace. Hardworking domestic manufacturers aren't asking for a special deal-they're looking for a level playing field. The Border Tax Equity Act will push the U.S. Trade Representative to rectify the untenable economic situation that confronts America's domestic manufacturing base," concluded Pascrell.