Paul Petrick

ATR Urges Congress to Support MTB Process

Posted by Paul Petrick on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012, 2:59 PM PERMALINK

ATR sent the following letter to Congress; click here for a PDF of the document.

April 17, 2012

To: All Members, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives

Re: Miscellaneous Tariff Bill

Dear Member of Congress:

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) have instructed members to introduce legislation for possible inclusion in a miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB) by April 30, 2012. The MTB is essential to providing relief to America’s beleaguered producers and consumers.  On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, I am writing to express support for the MTB process now underway.

By reducing or eliminating duties on imports, the MTB lowers input costs for domestic manufactures.  This increases the competitiveness of American goods and puts additional savings in the pockets of consumers.  Over the last few years, the American economy has sustained millions of lost jobs, drastically increasing the need for price relief. As American manufacturers continue to face stiff competition from abroad, it is imperative that American goods remain competitive with Asian and European goods.  Without action, Americans would be forced to pay artificially high prices for consumer goods.

As Congress and the Administration look for solutions to the nation’s economic woes, enacting commonsense policies that will boost output and lower the cost of business will do much more in the immediate and long term to grow the economy and augment job creation than government spending.  It is important to remember that legislation that reduces or eliminates tariffs on imports is not an earmark, but market-based consumer tax relief. 

As the sluggish economy continues to frustrate the aspirations of millions of Americans, the nation cannot afford to let this opportunity to enact sound economic policy dissipate.  Once again, I encourage you to support the ongoing MTB process. For more information, please contact Kelsey Zahourek in my office at


Grover G. Norquist





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An Antiquated Amendment: Jackson-Vanik Needs Repeal

Posted by Paul Petrick on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012, 3:12 PM PERMALINK

Last month, the Senate Finance Committee held a preliminary hearing on repealing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and establishing Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia.  Absent repeal, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment would put American businesses at a distinct disadvantage vis-à-vis foreign competitors in the Russian market.  Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, has written a letter to the United States Senate urging the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and the passage of PNTR with Russia.

Originally passed in 1974, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment tied trade relations with the Soviet Union, to the emigration rights of religious minorities within that nation.  This vestigial legislation is a relic from a past conflict with a country that no longer exists.  Over the last few years, millions of jobs have disappeared drastically increasing the need to open new markets to American goods. As Russia prepares to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) this summer, it is imperative that American goods enjoy the same economic liberalization benefits as Asian and European goods.  Unless repealed, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment would allow Russia to deny American exporters equal access to its market under WTO rules.

Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia would open up new markets for U.S. manufacturing and agricultural products while providing consumers with lower priced products at home.  Repealing the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and establishing PNTR with Russia has the potential to double or triple U.S. exports to Russia, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  With the world’s eleventh largest economy and more than 140 million consumers, Russia has already established itself as a lucrative market for a broad range of goods and services.  Demand for quality products will only increase after Russia joins the WTO.  Russia is the last major economy to join the WTO making this an opportunity America cannot afford to squander. 

A recent study conducted by the Heritage Foundation demonstrates that nations with low trade barriers are more prosperous.  Policymakers should be mindful of this as they seek pro-growth solutions to America’s economic challenges.

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Trade Off: Pres. Obama's Mixed Record on Trade

Posted by Paul Petrick on Friday, January 27th, 2012, 9:27 AM PERMALINK

Last Tuesday, President Obama dedicated a portion of his annual State of the Union address to detail his administration’s record on trade.  While the president deserves credit for belatedly opening new markets to American products, his overall body of work leaves much to be desired.  Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Obama Administration’s trade policy.

The Good:

“Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements I signed into law, we are on track to meet that goal - ahead of schedule. Soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago.”

—Pres. Obama, January 24, 2012

In October, President Obama signed into law Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.  This was a desperately needed boost to the struggling U.S. economy.  According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, these FTAs would yield $13 billion worth of increased exports and a quarter of a million new jobs.  Unfortunately for American workers, President Obama waited three years to submit these agreements to Congress where they passed with bipartisan support.  President Obama’s goal of doubling exports in five years is laudatory and we are pleased to find the economy ahead of schedule.  However, the economy would be even further along the road to progress if President Obama had decided to take action much sooner.

The Bad:

“From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here.”

—President Obama, January 24, 2012

Raising taxes on capital movement is an open and shut case of protectionism.  Every American benefits from free trade through lower prices, more jobs, and increased competitiveness.  Naturally, every American would be hurt if this policy were to take effect.  Besides, the U.S. currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.  Taxes need to go in the opposite direction.

“We've brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration - and it's made a difference. Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires.”

—President Obama, January 24, 2012

President Obama should take an economics course because one of the first chapters of his textbook would detail gains from trade.  Raising tariffs is simply raising taxes on goods.  Thanks to President Obama’s 35% tariff in 2009, consumers were forced to pay 20-30% more for their tires.  The impact of such policies is especially detrimental to low-income Americans.

The Ugly:

“Tonight, I'm announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China.”

—President Obama, January 24, 2012

Recently, President Obama announced plans to consolidate the federal trade bureaucracy.  While government retrenchment is always a good thing, President Obama offset his recent step forward by taking a big step backwards.  While specifics on the proposed “Trade Enforcement Unit” have yet to be determined, it is important to prevent the creation of a new tariff-hiking agency.  Regardless of the purpose, a further expansion of government bureaucracy is not what U.S. economy needs.



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