Iron, Steel Association Offers Recommendations to Hit U.S. Goal of Doubling Exports

March 12, 2010
Group says U.S. needs to address Chinese currency manipulation, negotiate better trade agreements and enforce trade laws

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) applauded President Obama's goal of doubling the nation's exports by 2015 and stimulating job growth by creating and preserving manufacturing jobs for Americans.

Approximately 70% of U.S. exports are manufactured goods and roughly 75% of manufactured goods contain some steel. "America's world-class steel industry is ready, willing and able to contribute to achieving the goal of the President's National Export Initiative. Substantially increasing U.S. exports, however, requires a level international playing field and greater access to offshore markets, especially in the big emerging markets such as China and India, where U.S. exports are often significantly impeded by foreign government trade barriers," the association says.

AISI urges the Administration to adopt the following trade policy initiatives in order to increase U.S. exports and create new jobs.

Address Chinese currency manipulation -- By undervaluing its currency, China effectively provides an export subsidy to its manufactured goods, giving Chinese producers an unfair advantage in their home market and in third country markets. The U.S. government must press China to end this trade-distorting practice.

Enforce trade agreements -- Trade agreements are intended to expand rules-based trade, but that will only happen if the agreements are fully and aggressively enforced. There must be a vigorous commitment from the USTR to exercise U.S. rights under existing trade agreements, and to bring WTO cases wherever appropriate.

Negotiate better trade agreements -- Increasing exports requires elimination of a range of foreign government policies and practices that impede our access to other countries' markets or otherwise distort markets around the world. This means our trade agreements should not be limited to removing traditional barriers like tariffs, but should also be focused on eliminating foreign trade-distorting subsidies, non-tariff barriers, raw material export restrictions and other trade-distorting practices.

Enforce trade laws -- Congress and the Administration should support increased funding for the Department of Commerce's Import Administration and direct Customs and Border Protection to place an enhanced focus on commercial enforcement to fight fraud and circumvention of trade law orders and to address imported product safety problems.

Promote a pro-manufacturing agenda -- Manufactured goods account for about 70% of U.S. exports. A healthy manufacturing sector is therefore critical to our export goals. Advancing a pro-manufacturing agenda must be considered in all government programs and regulations and U.S. policies must not discourage domestic investment. For example, the proposed unilateral regulation of manufacturers' greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act will actually destroy manufacturing capacity and jobs, undermining the President's export agenda.

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