In the $819 billion plus House bill passed Wednesday, the so-called "Buy American" provision would, with some notable exceptions, ensure that only U.S.-produced iron and steel be used for construction. It expands on a 76-year-old federal law. The Senate, which is likely to take up stimulus next week, would go even further, effectively requiring that any products and equipment be American-made. I support this measure, even if it increases cost 25% as some opponents of the provision state.
The European Union says the proposal is against the G-20 agreement reached in November, when world leaders decided not to raise any new trade barriers in 2009. They fail to acknowledge the fact that President Bush’s administration in 2001 and 2002 imposed several so-called "safeguard" tariffs on certain steel products from various foreign countries in an attempt to prevent U.S. steel mills from closing. This measure had little affect on these countries because China and the Middle East demand for steel skyrocketed. There is a huge market for steel, even though the economy globally is hurting.
It was interesting to read that Peter O'Toole, a spokesman for General Electric which gets half its of revenue from abroad, speak out against the provision. Stating it will cause other countries to initiate protectionist measures, as if we don’t already see numerous countries using protective measures against US products. Most European countries have protective measures against US grain and beef imports. Japan subsides its Auto/Truck/Tractor Industry, yet restricts the number of US cars that can be imported, and increase the imported cost by requiring expense modifications and testing on each imported vehicle. General Electric owns NBC, a major network that has shown a news bias favoring the election of Obama for President and the House Stimulus Bill. Rumors have it that economical stressed NBC is seeking some bail out funding.
I will be surprised if I do not hear negative comments stating this is all President Bush’s fault. These individuals need to look at the future, we can learn from the pass, but we need to find solutions for the now and future. Being critical of pass actions, and not bringing forth viable solutions, does not place the focus on solving he current problems. Personally I contend we have let down our guard to-much-to long on the import/export issue.