Friday, November 3, 2017

Bill Pascrell (Dem., N.J.) Opening Statement at Subcommittee Hearing on the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill

In my home state of New Jersey, a diverse array of companies will be in a better position to compete as a result of this legislation.

We have ICF Mercantile, located in Fort Lee, New Jersey, which will obtain duty relief on high tenacity rayon yarn, an input for a material used for Naval defense systems. Unfortunately, this specialty yarn has not been produced domestically in 20 years – but that means there is no harm from removing the tariff here.


I agree with the Chairman that the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill would provide some much-needed relief to U.S. manufacturers and their workers across the country.


One key reason that this bill stands to enjoy broad, bipartisan support is the underlying analysis completed by the International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce to ensure that products that are currently produced in the United States are not included in the final bill. In this way, the MTB is designed to prevent domestic companies from being harmed.

I look forward to working with other Members of Congress to pass a non-controversial MTB in the coming weeks for the first time in seven years. Seven years is too long to go between MTBs, and blame can be placed on the majority’s shortsighted and far too blunt earmark policy.

I also want to note that what we accomplish with the MTB in terms of boosting U.S. manufacturing competitiveness is small compared to the challenges our manufacturers are facing globally. For example, China has announced an ambitious industrial policy called “Made in China 2025” – a plan to transform China into a leader in advanced manufacturing, including in key sectors like aviation, rail, new energy vehicles, and agricultural machinery.

As a champion of U.S. manufacturing, I want to emphasize that we, as a country, need to be thinking big picture about our future. We, as a Committee, should be taking the lead here. Unfortunately, I don’t see that we are right now.

Before closing, I’d also like to say that while I’m glad that we are having this hearing today, I am still disappointed that this subcommittee has not held a hearing on the NAFTA renegotiations with Administration witnesses.

The need for a public hearing is highlighted by this Administration’s lacking record on transparency. In August, I led a letter calling for the Administration to appoint a Chief Transparency Officer, as required by statute, the Administration has still not done so. I have yet to receive a response to my letter, sent August 16th.

My transparency concerns go beyond process – press reports have now suggested that the NAFTA parties are negotiating on currency manipulation, but the Administration has given no indication of its plans or intentions on this issue.

While we are here today to discuss the MTB, there are other issues with significant consequences for America’s economic well-being that we need to be discussing openly. I look forward to a response from the Chairman on this matter very soon.

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