To grow and thrive in today’s economy, manufacturers in Texas are increasingly looking overseas to boost sales opportunities to sustain and grow their U.S. activities. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is important to that growth strategy because it will strengthen manufacturers in the United States and level the playing field with 11 Asia-Pacific countries that boast more than 490 million consumers. Read More
Trade critics continue to roll out the same tired arguments lashing out against trade deals that create critical opportunities for American businesses, workers and consumers, even though these arguments have been proven wrong time and time again.
The Sierra Club issued the latest salvo recently, with a new paper that repeats its typical criticisms of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The paper seeks to present a stark picture of the future, warning of a pending “swell” of ISDS challenges to scare governments from moving forward on public interest regulations.
Sound familiar? It should. Anti-trade environmental groups have used these far-fetched arguments before, even though none of what they have predicted has ever come to pass. The Sierra Club’s claims about the United States’ free trade deal with South Korea is a good example where they warned that the deal would “significantly raise the likelihood of more costly investor-state cases targeting U.S. laws and regulations.”
These arguments are scare tactics, not grounded in facts. After four years, not a single ISDS case has been filed under the Korea-U.S. (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement (FTA). In fact, the United States has free trade agreements in force with 20 countries and bilateral investment treaties in place with approximately 40 countries, and yet has faced only a small number of ISDS cases: 18 cases over the past 25 years. The United States has a strong track record here, having won every single case that has been concluded.
The truth is that ISDS is all about fair play, making sure that governments keep their international commitments, respect private property and treat all companies fairly and without discrimination. Here are some of the key facts about ISDS: Read More
This week, the International Trade Commission (ITC) will begin a three-day-long hearing focusing on the economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is the most complex free trade agreement the United States has negotiated since the Uruguay Round Agreements establishing the World Trade Organization. Once implemented, the TPP will provide an enormous boost to manufacturers’ business opportunities in the Asia-Pacific. Read More
Tonight’s debate took on a very different format, and a very different tone from the first debate. It was much more combative with the candidates painting very different pictures of their vision for economic recovery and manufacturing growth.
Both President Obama and Governor Romney spoke early and often in support of growing manufacturing jobs in the United States. While it’s good to hear the support, it is incredibly important to implement policies that will not just lead to recovery, but to sustained growth. The candidates spent much of the night discussing the elements that make it 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States—taxes, regulation, energy and trade.
Time and again, the conversation returned to job creation—fundamentally the most significant issue in this election. Manufacturers couldn’t agree more, but we’d like to remind the candidates that it’s also essential that we fill the 600,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector that remain unfilled today because employers can’t find workers with skills that match the jobs.
Energy policy is an immediate pathway to jobs. President Obama spoke about increased oil production and a desire for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, but yet again, this debate came and went without the President mentioning the Keystone XL pipeline. Governor Romney had it absolutely right when he told the audience at Hofstra University that we need to “take advantage of energy resources we have and we’ll see manufacturing jobs come back.” Governor Romney advocated in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline again and also spoke of shale gas, a game-changer that would create 1 million manufacturing jobs. The President also supported shale gas efforts, but his endorsement of more federal regulation on shale will handcuff the growth opportunity that it represents.
Special attention was paid to trade tonight—a critical aspect of our economy for manufacturing growth. President Obama deserves credit for signing the Colombia, South Korea and Panama free trade agreements and increasing exports. But manufacturers need more—the United States has a trade surplus with nations with whom we have free trade agreements. Governor Romney is right in the need for expanded trade that will open up markets for manufacturers in the United States and level the playing field around the world.
As the debate repeatedly returned to jobs, tax policy and its impact on economic growth was a focal point. Tonight the candidates doubled down on their position—Governor Romney in his support for bringing down rates across-the-board and President Obama in his support for an increase in the top individual rate. Unfortunately, if the two-thirds of manufacturers who file at the individual rate are hit with the looming tax hike, they will see a continuation of the tough times they’ve experienced over the past four years. With energy and health care costs increasing and the fiscal abyss approaching, manufacturers are getting squeezed on both ends. That’s not a recipe for economic growth.
Getting the nation on track again and putting our fiscal house in order requires addressing the factors that make it 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States. The moment that we put in effect the pro-growth policies that manufacturers are calling for is the moment our true recovery can begin.