Washington, DC – As Congress considers legislation to reauthorize the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi are offering a proposal to require disclosure of foreign subsidies that hurt U.S. manufacturing and other jobs.
“Trade must be fair as well as free, and foreign nations that back their companies with government subsidies create unlevel playing fields that put American workers and businesses at a serious disadvantage. Demanding disclosure of these subsidies is an absolutely necessary step so that we can take action to protect American workers and businesses,” said Merkley.
“American businesses are second to none when it comes to competing with their foreign counterparts. It’s when foreign governments weight the scales in favor of their own country’s businesses that things get tough. Our amendment encourages other countries to play by the rules and would help our government throw up a red flag when this happens so we can get the situation corrected,” said Enzi.
The amendment would require the U.S. Trade Representative to take action if any member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is failing to disclose subsidies. If a major trading partner repeatedly fails to disclose their subsidies, or if significant non-disclosed subsidies are found, the U.S. Trade Representative would then be required to notify the WTO regarding those foreign subsidies. By making sure the United States takes appropriate action under WTO procedures, the amendment helps ensure that such subsidies are out in the open, and takes the first step toward enforcing basic obligations of WTO member countries.