Senate supporters of expanded exports and economic growth will give another try today to obtain unanimous consent agreement to pass the Omnibus Trade Act. (H.R. 6517). They are unlikely to be successful. A Senate failure to advance this bill, which is vitally important to manufacturers large and small across the country, will be a setback for continued growth and job creation.
This bill is a tax cut for manufacturing in America: The Miscellanous Tariff Bill (MTB) provisions cut tariffs on manufacturing inputs unavailable domestically. By passing the MTB, the Senate will do what the House agreed to by bipartisan voice vote last week, eliminate added costs on making things in America.
The preference extensions for Colombia, and the GSP preferences extensions for developing countries, are crucial for global economic growth and are important for diplomatic and strategic reasons as well.
The Washington Post today has an editorial that sums up the Colombia issues at the heart of this bill, “The U.S. has no good reasons to stall on Latin America free-trade deals.” The National Association of Manufacturers has pushed the Obama Administration to send all three pending trade agreements (Colombia, Korea and Panama) since they were concluded. The time for those agreements is now. Meanwhile, the time for the Omnibus Trade bill, for MTB, GSP and ATPA, is running out.