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Jobs Report Triggers Call For Trade Remedies

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

A leading lobbying organization representing textile companies seized on November’s dismal jobs report to call on the US government to pursue a range of policies to strengthen manufacturing and “ jumpstart” the economy.

Pointing to 533,000 lost jobs in November, including 85,000 in manufacturing, Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC), composed of textiles and  other manufacturing industries, said: “The only way out of America’s economic troubles is to create more wealth. Stimulating manufacturing output is the best way to do that and to create the millions of new middle-class jobs needed to jumpstart the economy.”

Tantillo charged that jobs across the entire economy have been “hammered by unfairly subsidized foreign imports,” and he added that “fixing America’s broken international economic policy must be the top priority for President-Elect Obama and Congress.”

He outlined five steps to address international trade problems that have an impact on US textile and other manufacturers:

• elimination of tax advantages at home and abroad that undermine competitiveness of US producers or that discourage them from investing in America;

• combatting currency manipulation by passing legislation to make it actionable under US trade laws;

• aggressive enforcement of US trade laws to halt foreign illegal trade activities such as dumping, subsidization and intellectual property theft;

• expansion of the Defense Department’s “Buy American” requirements by strengthening them and extending them to the US Department of Homeland Security; and

• implementation of a comprehensive strategy to reduce US dependence on imported energy.

December 9, 2008