Senator Portman believes we must hold countries that violate our trade laws accountable, but we must do so in a way that protects American jobs and strengthens the U.S. economy.  Last week, Senator Portman introduced legislation called the Trade Security Act, which will reform the tariff process under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and increase congressional oversight as well.  In keeping with the original intent of Section 232, this bill makes common-sense reforms that require the Department of Defense, rather than the Department of Commerce, to justify the national security basis for new Section 232 tariffs and addresses concerns that misuse of law will harm jobs and the economy and likely result in a loss of this trade remedy tool.  The bill is garnering praise from business groups who view the legislation as a common-sense solution for preserving this important tool but reserving it for genuine national security threats.  Here’s a sampling of the support thus far: 

  • Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce“The U.S. Chamber applauds the introduction of the Trade Security Act, and we appreciate that these senators have chosen to take a leadership role on this important issue at a crucial time. The business community was encouraged by news of new trade talks with EU and the resumption of dialogue to modernize NAFTA, but concerns remain about the inappropriate use of damaging tariffs against our closest allies and best customers. As new tariffs against automobiles and auto parts are being considered, this proposal to reaffirm Congress’s exclusive constitutional authority to regulate foreign trade is a welcome development.” 
  • Joshua Bolten, President & CEO of the Business Roundtable: “Business Roundtable supports Senator Portman’s legislation as it furthers the important goal of preventing misuse of Section 232 to restrict trade inappropriately. Section 232 is intended to be used to combat real national security threats – not as an excuse to raise blanket tariffs on other countries. Senator Portman’s legislation would help ensure that 232 actions are taken only in cases of legitimate national security concern, preserving this important tool while also boosting accountability and Congress’ role in the Section 232 process. Business Roundtable appreciates the leadership of Senator Portman and other members of Congress who share our goal of protecting America’s economy from the harm of unjustified restrictions on free and fair trade.” 

 

  • Mitch Bainwol, President & CEO of the Auto Alliance“The Auto Alliance appreciates the efforts of Senators Portman, Jones and Ernst to clarify Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 by ensuring this critical statute is utilized as Congress intended – to safeguard our national security.  And while it is essential that the President maintain the authority to invoke any necessary measures to protect our national interests, recent actions to propose costly tariffs on imported autos and auto parts – in the name of national security – underscore the need for Congressional oversight.  Raising auto tariffs would undermine our nation’s economic security and thereby, our national security.  By shifting the investigative authority to the Department of Defense and giving Congress the ability to review any actions, this balanced approach upholds key national security interests while providing key safeguards.  We thank Senators Portman, Jones and Ernst for introducing this timely legislation and stand ready to help move it through the legislative process.”  
  • Cody Lusk, President & CEO of the American International Automobile Dealers Association: “AIADA appreciates this thoughtful and vital legislation from Senators Portman, Jones, and Ernst.  Preventing the misuse of Section 232 tariffs as a blunt negotiating tactic is crucial to both our national and economic security. Small businesses, like dealerships, are not national security threats – treating them as such threatens hundreds of thousands of American jobs, billions of dollars in auto sales and repairs, and auto investment here in the U.S.” 
  • John Bozzella, President and CEO of Global Automakers and spokesperson for Here For America: “Here For America applauds the introduction of legislation by Senators Portman, Jones and Ernst to fix the misuse of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.  The bill includes two commonsense reforms: First, it requires the Department of Defense to affirmatively determine that the importation of a certain product threatens to impair the national security of the United States before the Department of Commerce can recommend ways to address the threat.  Second, the bill provides for Congressional oversight to ensure the appropriate checks and balances are in place to protect the U.S. economy and American jobs.  Providing a role for Congress to ensure that Section 232 is used as intended is a big step in the right direction.” 

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