Proposal learns from Chinese failure to abide by its trade commitments; Calls for new enforcement approach
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(Pittsburgh) --This statement was released today by United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard:
“I want to thank Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) of New York and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) for introducing this important proposal as it directly addresses a significant problem that companies and working people across this country have faced time and time again: Our trading partners often sign trade agreements but, even before the ink is dry, they too often refuse to abide by their promises.
The result is we throw wide open the doors to our market while they only open theirs barely a crack. They then flood our markets with their products while continuing to limit access to their markets for our exports. In the process, our plants close, jobs are lost and our standard of living is further undermined.
There is a simple solution at-hand. It requires the Russian government to live up to its commitments. The United States cannot afford to repeat the devastating impact of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its continued refusal to uphold its commitments.
For more than a decade, American workers have been under assault because of China’s protectionist, predatory and illegal trade practices. Enforcing our trade laws should not be an afterthought; it must be integrated into our overall trade agenda. Russia’s compliance with its commitments cannot become a discretionary act on its part. Neither should the enforcement of our trade laws be subject to political whims or competing policy agendas in our country.
Senator Brown’s proposal is simple common sense. It will regularize trade enforcement by providing for enhanced monitoring of Russia’s commitments. And it will implement appropriate actions when Russia strays from its commitments.
Former President Ronald Reagan had an overarching approach in dealing with arms control agreements with the former Soviet Union: “Trust, but verify.” That’s what this approach does. The American worker deserves nothing less.
Whether the provisions of Russia’s commitments are sufficient is another matter. So is the question of whether the Jackson-Vanik law should be repealed granting Russia permanent most favored nation treatment thus eliminating the leverage over human rights that is embodied in that important legislation. These issues will be debated in the coming weeks. But, what should not be questioned is the need to ensure that trade deals, when agreed to, should be properly implemented, monitored and enforced.
If this proposal is not adopted, it calls into question every future trade agreement.”
The USW represents about 850,000 working men and women in the United States and Canada in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glass making to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber and other manufacturing environments, to the public sector, service and health care industries.
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