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OpenMarket: Fran Smith

  • Groups Urge U.S. House to Nullify Wasteful Catfish Rule

    June 23, 2016

    In a coalition letter yesterday, 10 market-oriented groups, including CEI, urged the House leadership to call for a vote on S.J. Res. 28 to nullify the wasteful catfish inspection program rule. The groups noted...
  • Bashing Trade Is a Popular Election Year Target

    March 10, 2016

    Pundits are opining that Bernie Sanders’ significant win in the Democratic primaries in Michigan was primarily due to his vehement anti-trade stance. Donald Trump’s surge in the Republican primaries in Michigan and Mississippi also came in part from his own protectionist position. The Wall Street Journal has a lengthy front-page article on the rise of protectionist sentiment among both Democratic and Republican voters. Major newspapers such as the Washington Post have pointed to Sanders’ use of “bogus numbers” when attacking free trade in his stump speeches and in his debates.



    Almost every candidate is pointing to trade...

  • Permanent Moratorium on Internet Taxation in Customs Bill

    February 11, 2016

    Today the Senate voted 75-20 in favor of the conference report accompanying H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, the so-called customs bill.



    While the majority of the bill deals with customs duties and procedures, there are some notable provisions in the conference report that won support. Chief among these is a permanent moratorium on Internet taxation, replacing temporary holds on states and localities taxing Internet access or placing multiple and discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce. That’s good news for consumers, who increasingly are purchasing goods and services on internet sites.



    A House amendment to H.R.644 specifically amends the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (the Trade Promotion Authority Act) by ensuring that...

  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Signed, Provisions a Mixed Bag

    February 4, 2016

    U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday, together with ministers from 11 other Pacific-rim countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam).



    Since the signing took place on the earliest possible date under rules set in Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), it seems clear that the Obama administration wants to move quickly on TPP, knowing that this controversial trade pact could get bogged down in the presidential election cycle....

  • COOL Ruling Puts U.S. in the Hot Seat

    December 4, 2015

    In a move intended to avoid harmful retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico, five Democratic senators wrote to both majority and minority Senate leaders, asking them to repeal the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for beef and pork. The leadership should heed their call, and the lead of the House of Representatives.



    Democratic Sens. Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana asked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to quickly vote to repeal the labeling law before the World Trade Organization (WTO) allows Mexico and Canada to assess up to $3 billion of tariffs on U.S. goods exported to...

  • Text of Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Pact Released

    November 5, 2015

    The office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released the complete text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – a huge trade pact among 12 countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. The agreement is also a big deal in its volume, with 30 chapters, four annexes, 55 “related instruments,” and two bilateral non-tariff agreements with Japan. According to the New Zealand trade minister, when New Zealand released the text earlier, “the large number of documents released today amount to over 6,000 pages of text and market access schedules.” 



    The Parties to the TPP are a mix of large, developed economies and smaller emerging markets: United...

  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Covers a Lot of Ground

    October 7, 2015

    Trade ministers of 12 Asia-Pacific countries announced October 5, 2015, that they had completed negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The TPP links together the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Chile, Peru, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Brunei in a broad trade agreement among countries that represent about 40 percent of the world’s GDP. The trade pact includes 30 chapters dealing with traditional trade issues such as market access and tariffs, while significantly expanding the purview of trade agreements with chapters focusing on such issues as labor, the environment, intellectual property, electronic commerce, and others.



    As summarized on ...

  • Thorny Issues in Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations

    August 13, 2015

    Trade negotiators from 12 countries left Maui at the end of July 2015 without reaching a final agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade pact among countries that represent about 40 percent of the world economy. The 12 countries negotiating TPP are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Brunei Darussalam.



    Stymying further progress on the agreement are several tough issues that won’t be easy to reconcile as several countries dig in to protect certain sectors of their economies. Further complicating negotiations are up-coming October elections in Canada and the desire on the part of the U.S. to finalize the deal before 2016...

  • Trade Supporters Opt for More Breathing Room

    June 16, 2015

    House leadership will delay reconsideration of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)—up to a July 30 deadline they set—to give more time for President Obama to gain Democratic support for the measure, which is necessary to move “fast track” legislation. Last Friday, the House handily defeated TAA by a vote of 126-302, with 156 Republicans and 144 Democrats voting against it. It’s ironic that the Democrats used TAA, which was their long-supported package for worker assistance, to bring down Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Many of the Republicans who voted against TAA thought it was a wasteful and unproven program. 



    Meanwhile on Tuesday, White House officials were planning to meet with...

  • Trade Promotion Authority: What it Is and What it Isn't

    June 11, 2015

    The House of Representatives is poised to vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314). Unfortunately, there has been some misinformed criticism, in Congress and elsewhere, of so-called “fast track” legislation. Under TPA, the President has the authority to negotiate trade agreements if certain criteria established by Congress are met. Then Congress reviews the agreement and the implementing legislation and has to vote on the bill with no amendments allowed.



    • TPA puts Congress in charge.

    TPA essentially is an accommodation between the Executive and the Legislative branches of government to assure trading partners that what they agreed upon during negotiations won’t be overturned in the voting process.



    Congress gives negotiating authority to the...

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