R-CALF USA and Domestic Manufacturers Urge Adoption of New National Trade Strategy
Washington, D.C. – Just two days after the elections, R-CALF USA joined with domestic manufactures to urge Washington decision-makers to adopt a new national trade strategy to reverse the exodus of U.S.-based manufacturers and the ongoing contraction of the U.S. cattle industry.
In meetings with officials at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard, Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) CEO Michael Stumo, and Pennsylvania-based steel and tool and die manufacturers explained the serious problems with current trade policies and offered government officials a viable solution.
"Among the trade-distorting problems we expressed was the practice by China and other Asian countries to devalue their currency, which artificially lowers the price of imports from those countries and artificially increases the price of our exports to those countries," said Bullard.
Bullard said that nearly every country in the world except the U.S. has a value-added tax that offsets the elimination of tariffs. "After we negotiate tariff reductions in a free trade agreement, the countries we call our partners invariably implement a value-added tax that is applied to imports entering their country and takes the form of a rebate for exports leaving their country," he said adding, "This shows that while the U.S. practices free trade, other countries find ways to offset the concessions they have made to gain a huge advantage over U.S. industries."
A third problem expressed by the group was the failure of the United States to fully assess the impacts of trade agreements on domestic supply chains, not just on the final product that is imported or exported. "In the cattle industry there often is an inverse relationship between profits at the beef packing stage and profits for live cattle producers. This means that a trade agreement’s positive impact on beef packers may not be allocated at all to live cattle producers, and may actually harm them," Bullard explained.
"These principles constitute a new trade strategy for the United States and unlike past strategies, this new strategy reflects our desire to promote trade while preserving fairness and opportunities for U.S.-based manufacturers, workers and agricultural producers," commented Bullard.
In addition to expressing his organization’s support for the new trade strategy, Bullard provided government officials with a white paper expressing the cattle industry’s specific concerns regarding the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) presently under negotiation by the Obama Administration.
"Our U.S. cattle industry will soon go the way of the U.S. sheep industry – which now imports more lamb and mutton than it produces domestically – if we don’t immediately reform our nation’s failed trade policies," Bullard said adding, "No one predicted such a disastrous outcome for the sheep industry, nor do they appear to care now that it has materialized."
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.
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