Representative Lee Terry (R-NE), Chairman of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, today introduced legislation to ensure foreign countries benefitting from U.S. trade programs provide a fair and level playing field for American manufacturing exports.
The Playing Fair on Trade and Innovation Act would prevent the President from granting special access to the U.S. market under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program to countries that block American exports, either by requiring products to be manufactured domestically or by failing to protect intellectual property rights.
"For nearly 40 years, U.S. trade preference programs worked to promote economic development in nations around the world," Terry said. "But today, some countries are taking advantage of American generosity. They enjoy open access to our markets while products made in America face intellectual theft in their markets. We must demand our trademarks and patents going into their countries are protected the same way they are here in the U.S."
Countries like India are engaged in a growing pattern of unfair and discriminatory treatment designed to benefit its own domestic companies at the expense of American manufacturing and jobs. India recently has announced rules requiring the local production of information technology and clean energy equipment. It has denied or revoked patents for well over a dozen innovative medicines.
"Trade preferences are not a gift," Terry added. "Eligibility should be reviewed regularly and rigorously. Particularly at a time when unemployment in this country remains unacceptably high, we can't afford to let America's trade policy become a one-way street. This legislation provides a valuable tool to help level the playing field."
Established in 1974, the GSP program provides tariff-free access to the U.S. market for up to 5,000 products from 127 developing countries.