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Kirk Blatantly Undermines Obama Manufacturing Plan

Feb. 29, 2012

Kirk Blatantly Undermines Obama Manufacturing Plan 

Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

Note: At 10 a.m. today, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk testifies before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.

Just hours after GOP presidential candidates in Michigan were battling to differentiate themselves with greater commitments to “Making it in America” and amid President Barack Obama’s Wisconsin manufacturing push, the administration’s top trade official released an annual trade policy plan that includes banning Buy American procurement policies and expanding foreign investor protections that incentivize offshoring of U.S. manufacturing.

It’s no secret that House Republicans want to make Obama a one-term president, and that Obama will have to pick up manufacturing states to pull off a re-election in November. So it’s inexplicable why, as the president touts his plans to rebuild U.S. manufacturing, Ron Kirk, the U.S. Trade Representative, is highlighting “trade” plans that include banning Buy American procurement, expanding offshoring incentives in trade pact investment rules and expanding NAFTA-style rules to all of Asia through a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement.

The agreements that Kirk is touting at today’s hearing – ranging from the NAFTA-with-Asia deal formally known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership that he is negotiating to the recently passed Korea trade deal – ban Buy American provisions and incentivize offshoring and blatantly undermine what President Obama promised for trade reform as a candidate in 2008 and is now pushing as part of his initiative to reinvigorate domestic manufacturing.