Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Camp, Brady: Administration’s Failure to Resolve Trucking Dispute Harming American Workers

Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) today issued the following statements on the one-year anniversary of the Congressional termination of the NAFTA trucking pilot program, which then triggered $2.4 billion in retaliatory duties against American-made exports by Mexico:

Congressman Camp said, "Record numbers of Americans are receiving an unemployment check instead of a paycheck. We need to make it easier for employers to create jobs and export American-made goods. Yet this Administration is doing just the opposite. Every day the Administration fails to resolve the trucking dispute, American workers and exporters are forced to pay additional and unnecessary duties to Mexico. The price tag of the Administration’s inaction is $2.4 billion and growing. Given the state of our economy, now more than ever that money should go into American jobs, not to Mexico. The Administration has had one year to solve this problem by developing a plan to keep our highways safe while still complying with our trade obligations. It is time it does so to restore the competitiveness of American exports.”

Congressman Brady asked, “How long must America’s farmers and manufacturers be punished while the White House and Congress refuse to resolve the problem they created? They’ve wasted a full year. With unemployment nearly 10%, America needs to increase U.S. exports and create jobs, not create new barriers that make American exports less competitive. If we continue to disregard our obligations and compel this retaliation, we are punishing our farmers, businesses, and workers. I call on the Administration, once again, to quickly resolve this issue and restore duty-free access to the Mexican market for American-made products."

Background: On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed into law H.R. 1105, which prohibited funding of a pilot program designed to ensure select Mexican trucks met U.S. safety standards. The termination of this program violated U.S. NAFTA obligations, and Mexico retaliated by imposing tariffs on over $1.5 billion in U.S. manufactured products and $900 million in U.S. agriculture products. Mexico is the second largest market for exports of American-made goods and services.

On March 18, 2009, Reps. Camp and Brady wrote to the President and urged the “Administration to work quickly with all interested stakeholders to develop a new program.” They warned, “If we choose to continue to disregard our obligations and compel this retaliation, we are punishing our farmers, businesses and workers at a time when our economy is in great distress.”

On June 8, 2009, a bipartisan group of House members, led by John Salazar (D-CO) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), wrote the President: “[W]e would like to work with you and your Administration to move toward a quick resolution on this issue. Further economic harm to U.S. farmers, manufacturers and service providers is something this country cannot afford.”
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