|Reciprocal Market Access Act|
|June 17, 2011|
Most of you have probably seen the recent jobs report revealing that just 54,000 jobs were created last month. This report confirmed what most of us already know: our economy, and our government, is not doing enough to create American jobs.
The current Majority in Congress proposes lower taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, continuing a decades-long belief that making the rich richer will result in prosperity for all. At the same time, both Republicans and Democrats are pushing forward with three free trade agreements that are poised to create thousands of jobs...overseas. All three free trade agreements are indicative of the misguided free trade policies that have led to the decline of manufacturing in the United States, and will do little to actually put Americans back to work.
In the shadow of these free trade agreements, I have introduced a piece of legislation that is designed to fundamentally alter our nation's free trade status quo, and truly give American manufacturers a chance to create jobs. Both manufacturers and unions, from Corning Inc. to the AFL-CIO, support this bill. It is being pushed forward by a strong group of legislators who all share the belief that we must create the conditions for American manufacturers to succeed.
The Reciprocal Market Access Act would provide the United States with a comprehensive approach towards the market barriers that often prevent American manufacturers from competing in foreign markets. Currently, poorly written trade bills result in barriers that prevent the sale of American goods abroad, while the American marketplace remains open to foreign goods and products.
If a trading partner violates the terms of a free trade agreement, or uses predatory and unfair trade practices, then American businesses have little recourse. Their only option is to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization, but these cases can take anywhere from 18 months to 3 years- a lifetime in the business world. During this time, the unfair practices are allowed to go on unchecked, leaving American manufacturers to try and survive in this unfair marketplace while they wait for a resolution to their case with the WTO.
Under The Reciprocal Market Access Act, a "snap-back" provision would incentivize foreign competitors to come to a swift and fair resolution with their American counterparts. Through this provision, the United States would have the authority to immediately reinstate prior barriers to the US market as necessary, while the unfair trade practices were resolved.
In short, the United States would finally be empowered to protect American markets from unfair trade practices, and ensure that American manufacturers could truly compete in foreign markets.
The simple truth is that a strong economy is as important as a strong military. In fact, a strong economy is vital to our ongoing war on terror. While alive, Osama Bin Laden often said that one of his goals was to bankrupt the United States, even if he couldn't defeat our military.
Over the last 5 years, our economy, and our country, has indeed struggled to pay all of our bills while we fight a global war on terror, and deal with the devastating effects of a prolonged recession. If we are to remain a global superpower in the years to come, we must create more jobs immediately, and put 14 million unemployed Americans back to work. I believe that starts with once again making things in America, and ensuring that our manufacturers can compete, and win, from free trade.
I believe we can do more than simply retrain workers for jobs that don't yet exist. Instead, its time we challenge the free trade status quo, and finally provide the opportunity for American manufacturers to fully access foreign markets with strong enforcement provisions to ensure fair free trade. With passage of The Reciprocal Market Access Act, I believe American manufacturers will be given the fair playing field they need to succeed and create new jobs here at home.