Friday, April 24, 2009

Business Groups, NGOs Seek Reforms in U.S. Trade Preference Programs

(World Trade Interactive)

More than two dozen trade and business associations and non-governmental organizations wrote to Congress and the White House April 22 to propose a major overhaul of U.S. trade preference programs. The groups said their proposal represents a consensus that reflects several years of hard work, and they asked to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and the leaders of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees as soon as possible to discuss it.

The coalition praised existing preference programs for contributing to economic development in developing countries, lowering costs for U.S. businesses that rely on imported manufacturing inputs, reducing prices for U.S. consumers, and helping to improve local business climates abroad and thus build potential new markets for U.S. exports and regional trade. Nevertheless, there are several drawbacks associated with these programs, including short durations, rigid product restrictions, and complex and often contradictory rules that lead to immense uncertainty and confusion and therefore limit potential benefits. Read more here.