Heath Shuler on Free Trade
Fair trade laws protect American jobs
We cannot continue to stand idly by while our jobs keep going overseas because our Congress refuses to enact fair trade laws that protect American jobs, American workers, and American families. As your Congressman, I will always oppose unfair trade
policies that are costing our families good paying jobs -- trade policies that make it harder and harder for companies that want to stay in America to compete. And I will make certain that my vote is counted.
Source: 2006 House campaign website, www.heathshuler.com, “Issues”
, Nov 7, 2006
Voted NO on promoting free trade with Peru.
Approves the Agreement entered into with the government of Peru. Provides for the Agreement's entry into force upon certain conditions being met on or after January 1, 2008. Prescribes requirements for:
- enforcement of textile and apparel rules of origin;
- certain textile and apparel safeguard measures; and
- enforcement of export laws governing trade of timber products from Peru.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. RANGEL: It's absolutely ridiculous to believe that we can create jobs without trade. I had the opportunity to travel to Peru recently. I saw firsthand how important this agreement is to Peru and how this agreement will strengthen an important ally of ours in that region. Peru is resisting the efforts of Venezuela's authoritarian President Hugo Chavez to wage a war of words and ideas in Latin America against the US. Congress should acknowledge the support of the people of Peru and pass this legislation by a strong margin.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. WU: I regret that I cannot vote for this bill tonight because it does not put human rights on an equal footing with environmental and labor protections.
Rep. KILDEE: All trade agreements suffer from the same fundamental flaw: They are not self-enforcing. Trade agreements depend upon vigorous enforcement, which requires official complaints be made when violations occur. I have no faith in President Bush to show any enthusiasm to enforce this agreement. Congress should not hand this administration yet another trade agreement because past agreements have been more efficient at exporting jobs than goods and services. I appeal to all Members of Congress to vote NO on this. But I appeal especially to my fellow Democrats not to turn their backs on those American workers who suffer from the export of their jobs. They want a paycheck, not an unemployment check.
Reference: Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act;
Bill H.R. 3688
; vote number 2007-1060
on Nov 8, 2007
Voted YES on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization.
H.R.3920: Trade and Globalization Act of 2007: Amends the Trade Act of 1974 to allow the filing for trade adjustment assistance (TAA) by adversely affected workers. Revises group eligibility requirements for TAA to cover: (1) a shift of production or services to abroad; or (2) imports of articles or services from abroad.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. RANGEL: In recent years, trade policy has been a dividing force. This legislation develops a new trade policy that more adequately addresses the growing perception that trade is not working for American workers. The Trade and Globalization Assistance Act would expand training and benefits for workers while also helping to encourage investment in communities that have lost jobs to increased trade--particularly in our manufacturing sector. The bill is a comprehensive policy expanding opportunities for American workers, industries, and communities to prepare for and overcome the challenges created by expanded trade.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. McCRERY: We should be considering trade adjustment assistance in the context of trade opportunities generally for US workers. That is to say, I think we should be considering modifications to our assistance network in the context of the pending free trade agreements that are before the Congress. Unfortunately, we are not doing that. We are considering TAA in isolation. [We should instead] restructure TAA from a predominantly income support program into a job retraining program. Other problems include that H.R. 3920 would:
Reference: Trade and Globalization Assistance Act;
; vote number 2007-1025
on Oct 31, 2007
- pointlessly keep people in trade adjustment assistance longer.
- increase TAA spending by billions of dollars, but would not require any further accountability on how program funds are spent.
- greatly expand TAA and exacerbate the inefficiencies in the program today.
- extend benefits to public sector workers and submit State and local officials to subpoenas and legal proceedings to comply.
Tariffs against countries undervaluing their currency.
Shuler signed H.R.2378 & S.1027
Amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to require the administering authority to determine, based on certain requirements, whether the exchange rate of the currency of an exporting country is undervalued or overvalued (misaligned) against the U.S. dollar for an 18-month period; and to take certain actions under a countervailing duty or antidumping duty proceeding to offset such misalignment in cases of an affirmative determination. Congress makes the following findings:
Source: Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act 09-HR2378 on May 13, 2009
- The strength, vitality, and stability of the US economy and the openness and effectiveness of the global trading system are critically dependent upon an international monetary regime of orderly and flexible exchange rates.
Increasingly in recent years, a number of foreign governments have undervalued their currencies by means of protracted, large-scale intervention in foreign exchange markets, and this fundamental misalignment has substantially contributed to distortions in trade flows.
- This exchange depreciation serves as a subsidy for, and facilitates dumping of, exports from countries that engage in this mercantilist practice.
- It is consistent with the agreements of the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund that US trade law make explicit that fundamental undervaluation by an exporting country of its currency is actionable as a countervailable export subsidy and alternatively can be offset by antidumping duties.
Review free trade agreements biennially for rights violation.
Shuler signed H.R.3012
Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment Act or the TRADE Act:
- review biennially certain free trade agreements (including Uruguay Round Agreements) between the US and foreign countries to evaluate their economic, environmental, national security, health, safety, and other effects; and
- report on them to the Congressional Trade Agreement Review Committee (established by this Act), including analyses of specified aspects of each agreement and certain information about agreement parties, such as whether the country has a democratic form of government, respects certain core labor rights and fundamental human rights, protects intellectual property rights, and enforces environmental laws.
Declares that implementing bills of new trade agreements shall not be subject to expedited consideration or special procedures limiting amendment, unless such agreements include certain standards with respect to: Requires the President to submit to Congress a plan for the renegotiation of existing trade agreements to bring them into compliance with such standards. Expresses the sense of Congress that certain processes for U.S. trade negotiations should be followed when Congress considers legislation providing special procedures for implementing bills of trade agreements.
Source: TRADE Act 09-HR3012 on Jun 24, 2009
- human rights;
- environment and public safety;
- food and product health and safety;
- provision of services;
- intellectual property;
- trade remedies and safeguards;
- dispute resolution and enforcement;
- technical assistance;
- national security; and
Impose tariffs against countries which manipulate currency.
Shuler signed Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act
- Amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to include as a "countervailable subsidy" requiring action under a countervailing duty or antidumping duty proceeding the benefit conferred on merchandise imported into the US from foreign countries with fundamentally undervalued currency.
- Defines "benefit conferred" as the difference between:
- the amount of currency provided by a foreign country in which the subject merchandise is produced; and
- the amount of currency such country would have provided if the real effective exchange rate of its currency were not fundamentally undervalued.
- Determines that the currency of a foreign country is fundamentally undervalued if for an 18-month period:
- the government of the country engages in protracted, large-scale intervention in one or more foreign exchange markets
- the country's real effective exchange rate is undervalued by at least 5%
- the country has experienced significant and persistent global current account
- the country's government has foreign asset reserves exceeding the amount necessary to repay all its debt obligations.
[Explanatory note from Wikipedia.com "Exchange Rate"]:
Between 1994 and 2005, the Chinese yuan renminbi was pegged to the US dollar at RMB 8.28 to $1. Countries may gain an advantage in international trade if they manipulate the value of their currency by artificially keeping its value low. It is argued that China has succeeded in doing this over a long period of time. However, a 2005 appreciation of the Yuan by 22% was followed by a 39% increase in Chinese imports to the US. In 2010, other nations, including Japan & Brazil, attempted to devalue their currency in the hopes of subsidizing cheap exports and bolstering their ailing economies. A low exchange rate lowers the price of a country's goods for consumers in other countries but raises the price of imported goods for consumers in the manipulating country.
Source: HR.639&S.328 11-HR0639 on Feb 14, 2011
Block NAFTA Superhighway & North American Union.
Shuler co-sponsored blocking NAFTA Superhighway & North American Union
This resolution urges disengaging from the NAFTA Superhighway System and the North American because these proposals threaten U.S. sovereignty:
Source: Resolution against the NAFTA Superhighway (H.CON.RES.40) 2007-HCR40 on Jan 22, 2007
- Whereas US trade deficits with Mexico and Canada have significantly increased since the implementation of NAFTA;
- Whereas a NAFTA Superhighway System from the west coast of Mexico through the US and into Canada has been suggested as part of a North American Union to facilitate trade;
- Whereas the State of Texas has already begun planning of the Trans-Texas Corridor, a major multi-modal transportation project beginning at the US-Mexico border, which would serve as an initial section of a NAFTA Superhighway System;
- Whereas it could be particularly difficult for Americans to collect insurance from Mexican companies which employ Mexican drivers involved in accidents;
Whereas future unrestricted foreign trucking can act collaterally as a conduit for illegal drugs, illegal human smuggling, and terrorist activities; and
- Whereas a NAFTA Superhighway System would likely include be controlled by foreign management, which threatens the sovereignty of the US:
- Now, therefore, be it Resolved: that the US should not engage in the construction of a NAFTA Superhighway System;
- that the US should not allow the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) to implement further regulations that would create a North American Union with Mexico and Canada; and
- the President should indicate strong opposition to these acts or any other proposals that threaten the sovereignty of the United States.
Page last updated: Jun 10, 2012