July 17,2014

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Wyden Calls for Strengthened American Manufacturing through Updated Trade Policy

Finance Chairman Says Robust Manufacturing Key to Strong U.S. Economy and Good-Paying Jobs

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., at a hearing today said U.S. trade policy must be upgraded to support American manufacturing and make U.S. employers more competitive in the 21st century global economy.

“A modern trade policy should dismantle trade barriers U.S. manufacturers face abroad and foster an environment in which businesses of all sizes can grow and create good middle-class jobs,” Wyden said. “The focus today is on fresh trade-related policies that can unleash the full potential of American manufacturers and give them a springboard to create good paying, middle class jobs.”

Wyden said the Finance Committee should work to identify foreign trade barriers that stifle American manufacturers’ ability to compete in global markets, such as tariffs on high-tech products, requirements to relocate factories, intellectual property theft, and anti-competitive subsidies for state-owned enterprises.

Many American manufacturing companies are succeeding in tough, global markets. Manufacturing accounts for more than $2 trillion of the American economy, it supports more than 17 million American jobs, and it drives three quarters of all private-sector spending on R&D. Manufacturing exports are essential to rebalance our trade account, grow the economy and create good-paying jobs.

“U.S. manufacturers have real strengths and opportunities, but they face greater competition around the world than in past decades,” Wyden said. “The right policies – especially on trade – can help kick off a new era defined by successful, sustained manufacturing in the U.S.  Those policies should reflect what U.S. manufacturing looks like today and where it’s headed in the future – not what it looked like 10 or 20 years ago.”

Last month, the Finance Committee held a hearing to examine how enforcement of existing trade rules is essential to support U.S. manufacturers and other businesses.

Witnesses at today’s hearing included Stephen Ezell, a senior analyst for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF); Jacklyn Sturm, the vice president and general manager of global supply management for Intel Corporation; and Ray Kimber, founder and owner of Kimber Kable, who also testified on behalf of the Consumer Electronics Association. Their testimony can be found here.

Wyden’s opening statement can be found here.