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Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU
Hello_Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-09-09 03:35 PM
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6. Everyone needs to read this!
Jan. 29 - Companies that Offshored Jobs Attacking "Buy America"/Stimulus on False Grounds
Firms That Sent U.S. Jobs Offshore Now Claim That Investing U.S. Taxpayer Funds in America Is "Protectionism," While Falsely Claiming That U.S. Steel, Iron Requirements for Highway, Transit Projects Violate Trade Pacts

Posted: 1/29/2009

Before any more front-page stories get the facts wrong about the preferences for U.S. steel and iron in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please be advised: Buy America and Buy American are separate pieces of legislation with separate regulatory requirements and different statuses under U.S. trade agreements. The House stimulus package requirement that U.S. steel and iron be used for federal and state transportation infrastructure projects simply extends existing law (the 1982 Buy America Act) and practice and is EXEMPT from coverage under various trade-agreement procurement rules. (What various U.S. trade pact rules do require and what these two "Buy-A" laws require is discussed below.)

Meanwhile, lobbyists from corporations such as Caterpillar and General Electric seem to be intentionally conflating Buy America and Buy American to falsely claim that the U.S. iron and steel rules violate trade-pact rules. Perhaps the real reason these firms have launched a fact-distorting PR and lobbying effort is because they have moved so much production away from the United States to low-wage foreign venues, meaning that their products may see less benefit from this massive injection of government spending.

As well, the notion that these Buy America provisions will launch a global trade war is ridiculous, if for no other reason than the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (AGP) applies only to 39 countries with an additional 13 countries being signatories to U.S "Free Trade Agreements" (FTAs). The United States has no trade agreement or other procurement obligations to China, Brazil, India and many other major developing-country industrial powers. Further, any number of laws implemented in any number of countries to date in response to the economic crisis violate WTO rules. But these have not been subject to WTO challenge, which suggests that there is some sort of multinational gentlemen's agreement among WTO signatory governments to ignore each others' take-backs of non-trade policy space to implement needed regulations during this emergency period. Contrary to recent newspaper editorials repeating the hysterical 'launching a trade war' tone of the corporate attack on the Buy America provisions, a review report circulated by the WTO's director general on January 23 concludes that the global economic crisis has so far provoked little "protectionist" reaction from governments in the form of increased tariffs or other barriers to trade.
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