United States Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), along with Senators Levin and Stabenow, today introduced an amendment to strengthen trade and manufacturing provisions of the Climate Security Act of 2008. Cosponsors include Senators Levin and Stabenow.
"American manufacturers are already competing against unfairly subsidized steel and manufactured goods," said Senator Brown. "This amendment would ensure that those who benefit from access to the U.S. market bear the same environmental responsibility as American manufacturers. It is vital for the United States to lead on the issue of global warming and equally important to protect manufacturing."
"This amendment is meant to shore-up provisions that were first included in the Bingaman-Specter climate change bill," Senator Specter said. "I am pleased that Senator Lieberman and Warner worked to improve the provisions, but it is imperative that we get the details right. We must account for the emissions of our domestic industry while not putting them at a competitive disadvantage with our trading partners."
The Brown-Specter amendment would curb greenhouse gas emissions while promoting US economic growth. Currently the Climate Security Act of 2008 would leave import-sensitive American industries including steel, paper, aluminum, glass, rubber, and plastic at a disadvantage because foreign industries do not face the same environmental costs. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that those who benefit from access to the U.S. market bear the same responsibility as American manufacturers.
The Brown-Specter amendment contains the following five provisions:
? Defines "comparable action" as actions comparable to the United States in reducing or limiting greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)
Ensures that importers cannot game the requirements by affirming parity in the actions US manufacturers and foreign companies must take.
? Extends the import allowance program to downstream products made with inputs generating GHG
American manufacturers are already at a competitive disadvantage due to market manipulation s and cheaper labor costs. The amendment would make clear that importers of inputs used to make products must obtain allowances to account for emissions associated with their products. The alternative is to accelerate the movement of jobs and production to other nations that refuse to address the global warming problem.
? Makes the effective date for import allowances the same as the effective date for domestic producers
This common-sense provision would prevent foreign companies from exploiting a lapse in the application of new environmental requirements to gain a price advantage over US manufacturers.
? Applies the import allowance program to countries with "de minimis" emissions levels
The amendment, which exempts the least developed countries, ensures that countries with significant export to the United States are not excluded simply because they are small in size.
? Limits the foreign credits and allowances to 15 percent of total import allowances required, in order to make them consistent with domestic limits.
"Global warming is a threat to our nation and our planet. I will continue to work with Senator Specter, Chairwoman Boxer, and others to address global warming, using strategies that sustain our nation's hard-won economic strength."