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H.R. 2927--The Border Tax Equity Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise this afternoon to speak on an issue that for too long we have known about but have done little to nothing to address on either side of the aisle. That issue is our growing trade inequity, which continually puts American manufacturers at a disadvantage and which has cost too many Americans their jobs.

I introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2927, with my colleague, Representative WALTER JONES. So we've got Republicans on this bill, and we've got Democrats on this bill. It offers one path toward equalizing our growing trade inequity; but instead of having a thoughtful debate, we are again confronted by misinformation and, in this case, by an entirely unfounded and false fear of new taxes being imposed.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to state for the record that H.R. 2927, the Border Tax Equity Act, has a singular mission--to stop the offshoring of American jobs. It does not impose a value-added tax. In fact, this legislation is geared to fight a value-added tax, which would be imposed by foreign nations on American-made products. The Border Tax Equity Act stands up against foreign export subsidies and trade barriers that offshore U.S. jobs.

Who is talking about this? When are we going to begin to protect American jobs?

We can have all of the job creation and all of the stimulus. If we don't get to the heart of the issue, we are going to lose any manufacturing edge that we have. We are not a service job country. We need to have agrarian; we need to have service, and we need to have manufacturing jobs. Otherwise, God forbid, if we ever went to war, we'd have to buy our tanks from China right now. We have dismantled our manufacturing base. We have destroyed the infrastructure of manufacturing in this country. Let me make it clear.

When I say ``export subsidies,'' what I am talking about are our trade partners--our allies, many of them, and some not our allies. They give rebates and monetary givebacks--I call them ``kickbacks''--to their own manufacturing companies. With a deal like that, it is impossible for our manufacturers to be on an even playing field, to compete or to stay in business.

This is the heart of our trade inequity. Free trade, fair trade--humbug. It doesn't go to the center of the issue. It seems that, lately, many have been confusing this bill with legislation that promotes a value-added tax when, in fact, the Border Tax Equity Act seems to level the playing field for U.S. producers of goods and services.

When are we going to give a break to the manufacturers, both large and small, in the United States of America? When are we going to stop saying that free trade is the panacea for creating jobs in the United States? Take a look at what NAFTA did to this country. Take a look at how many jobs we've lost, not only in the United States, but in Mexico. It is a disaster.

The Border Tax Equity neither imposes a value-added tax nor advocates for the imposition of one. I will repeat: It does not impose a value-added tax.

WALTER JONES and I introduced this legislation to encourage U.S. job creation and economic growth. That is at the center of the recovery. Countering foreign border adjusted tax export subsidies and trade barriers are a must if America is going to kick-start manufacturing job creation and double our exports in the next 5 years.

I also hope that this bill will shed light on our need to counter foreign border adjusted tax schemes that encourage the offshoring of production of U.S. goods and services. Here is a perfect example:

The rising export subsidies and trade barriers of foreign border adjusted taxes were a key contributor to the loss of 5.7 million manufacturing jobs over the last decade. It is the prime reason why U.S. industrial output is less today than it was 10 years ago, and this is despite a 50 percent increase in the global gross domestic product. Foreign border adjusted tax schemes are designed to make U.S.-produced goods and services less competitive by making exports to the United States cheaper, cheaper, cheaper so they can build more Wal-Marts, more Wal-Marts, more Wal-Marts and so they can put more people out of jail than are in the United States of America. That is fact, not fiction.

So, Mr. Speaker, I ask that we get the facts straight on what we are talking about.

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