Democrats re­veal trade plan for ‘Bet­ter Deal’

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY DAVID SHERFINSKI

Se­nate Democrats on Wed­nes­day un­veiled a set of trade pol­icy items as part of their “Bet­ter Deal” eco­nomic agenda, say­ing they want to crack down on un­fair trade prac­tices and make it harder for com­pa­nies to ship jobs overseas.

“For far too long, our trade laws have given multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions and for­eign com­peti­tors a leg up on the Amer­i­can worker,” said Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer. “They put the cor­po­rate bot­tom line ahead of the work­ers’ bot­tom line.”

The plan in­cludes an in­de­pen­dent trade pros­e­cu­tor who would chal­lenge un­fair trade prac­tices by coun­tries like China, and a jobs coun­cil that could block po­ten­tial ac­qui­si­tions of Amer­i­can com­pa­nies by their for­eign coun­ter­parts if it meant U.S. jobs would be lost.

It also calls for a rene­go­ti­ated North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA), which Pres­i­dent Trump has ad­vo­cated, with an eye to­ward boost­ing agri­cul­tural ex­ports.

Democrats also want to pe­nal­ize fed­eral con­trac­tors who out­source jobs, im­pose “Buy Amer­ica” poli­cies for fed­eral projects, pe­nal­ize cur­rency ma­nip­u­la­tors, and slap an “out­sourc­ing tax” on com­pa­nies that leave the United States.

Trade is a key part of Mr. Trump’s agenda. The ad­min­is­tra­tion says that along with rolling back reg­u­la­tions and re­form­ing the tax code, trade is vi­tal to jump-start­ing the econ­omy.

Mr. Schumer, though, said Mr. Trump has “talked a good game” on trade but has done vir­tu­ally noth­ing.

“We need ac­tion. And if Pres­i­dent Trump wants to work with us to get these things done, good, be­cause we need a bet­ter deal for Amer­i­can work­ers, pe­riod,” he said.

Mr. Trump is re­port­edly weigh­ing whether to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into China’s trade prac­tices, in­clud­ing po­ten­tial in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty theft. He has also called on China in re­cent weeks to help com­bat North Korea’s re­cent ag­gres­sions.

Mr. Schumer also took the Se­nate floor on Wed­nes­day to urge Mr. Trump to back up his tough talk on China with con­crete ac­tion to crack down on in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty theft and ar­ti­fi­cially cheap goods.

“Tough talk and tweets are cheap, strong and de­ci­sive ac­tion is re­quired,” Mr. Schumer said.

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