U.S. Senator Pat Toomey and U.S. Representative Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) announced today that U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has agreed to negotiate an accelerated elimination of specific automotive tariffs impacting Mack Trucks. Exports of Mack trucks built in Macungie to Colombia have decreased in recent years due to other nations, such as Mexico, negotiating more favorable terms for their trucks.
Ambassador Kirk's response comes after Sen. Toomey and Rep. Dent led a bipartisan, bicameral letter in May requesting he improve the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement by working to eliminate these tariffs, which would lead to more exports for Mack.
"The administration is prepared to make such a request to Colombia under the tariff acceleration provision of the (U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement) with respect to the goods you identified in your letter. As U.S. suppliers have traditionally had a strong presence in the Colombian market for heavy-duty trucks, we certainly support steps that would enhance that presence," Ambassador Kirk wrote in his Aug. 28 response.
Sen. Toomey and Rep. Dent thanked Ambassador Kirk for his willingness to work with them to resolve this issue and secure jobs in the Lehigh Valley.
"Mack Trucks is an iconic Pennsylvania brand whose ability to grow and create jobs is partly dependent on its ability to export its products from Macungie to other parts of the world," Sen. Toomey said. "Therefore, it's critical for jobs here at home that the trade representative negotiate an elimination of these truck tariffs so that the trucks made here in the Lehigh Valley are given the same access as those made in Mexico. I appreciate Ambassador Kirk's willingness to work with us to open and expand markets for Pennsylvania products and to create jobs in the commonwealth."
"The U.S. trade representative's decision is certainly promising news for Mack Trucks and its many Lehigh Valley employees," said Rep. Dent. "The elimination of automotive tariffs will provide Mack a level playing field in Colombia, helping the iconic American manufacturer better compete with its international rivals. I appreciate the administration's willingness to open the Colombian market to manufacturers like Mack Trucks and encourage the president to pursue opportunities for American producers in additional markets."
Mack Trucks, a manufacturing icon in the Lehigh Valley, assembles heavy-duty trucks solely in the United States for the North American market.
The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement eliminated a 15 percent tariff on various automotive exports, such as heavy-duty tractors. However, the tariff affecting straight trucks (mixers, dumps, concrete pumps, water and fuel trucks, and smaller tractors) will phase out incrementally through a 10-year period. In contrast, tariffs on Colombian exports of similar products to the United States have been eliminated, and Mack's competitors in Mexico face no tariffs on exports to Colombia.
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