U.S. Must Enforce Laws to Break Down Trade Barriers

Mar 28, 2008
Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC – Senior House Democrats today sent a letter to President Bush, renewing their call for stricter enforcement of U.S. rights under trade agreements. The letter was sent in anticipation of the Administration’s annual "National Trade Estimate" (NTE) report listing barriers to U.S. exports. (Please click here to view a pdf of the letter and attachment)

In their letter, the Democrats expressed hope that the Administration would move past merely inventorying the systemic, recurring trade barriers that U.S. companies face, and, and to take a positive step forward and begin enforcing U.S. rights more vigorously."

In the Democrats’ view, stricter enforcement of trade laws would avoid further growth of the U.S. trade deficit and unsustainable levels of foreign-owned U.S. debt. In 2007, the U.S. trade deficit was $711.6 billion – the third highest in history and a shocking five percent of the U.S. economy. Over the past six years alone, foreign-owned debt has more than doubled, currently standing at $2.4 trillion or 17 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). As noted in the letter, the Bush Administration has accumulated more debt to foreign governments and individuals than all previous administrations combined.

In an appendix to the letter (attached), the Democrats identified existing trade barriers with America’s five largest trading partners and their impact on the U.S. economy. The letter also encourages the Administration to instruct the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to request immediate consultations with key trading partners to resolve outstanding issues. The letter contends that stronger enforcement of trade agreements and the preservation of U.S. rights would help open additional foreign markets to U.S. goods and services. Action in these areas could help restore confidence and fight the growing perception that trade agreements are part of the problem, not the solution to expanding opportunity for American workers, farmers and businesses.

The letter also noted recent action by the Administration to initiate important cases dealing with World Trade Organization (WTO) violations by China and encourages similar action on remaining issues.