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  • 05 Nov 2015 9:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Please click here to see the full negotiated text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

  • 15 Oct 2015 3:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following article comes from Colorado Public Radio:

    Attention Colorado gear heads: That backpack you've been eyeing might soon get a little cheaper.

    We repeat: might.

    Some outdoor gear companies based in Colorado say the new, 12-nation trade deal struck earlier this month could lead to millions in savings that could be passed to retailers and consumers -- and could bolster their bottom lines too.

    Thing is, they don't know that yet for sure. Terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are secret, as they have been for the five years its been negotiated between Asian and American countries. The Boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association has been advocating for apparel and gear makers in its discussions with U.S. negotiators for years.

    Fifty-five such companies are based in Colorado, including Big Agnes, Lowe Alpine and Osprey. A 2012 OIA report says the state's overall outdoor recreation industry, from ski resorts to REI locations to campgrounds, is responsible for 125,000 jobs, $4.2 billion in wages and salaries, and $994 million in state and local tax revenue.

    But the OIA doesn't have access to what's on the table, meaning they place a lot of trust in negotiators. Alex Boian, the OIA's senior director of government affairs, said his organization has pushed for duty relief on imports and protections on domestically made products. He's confident the TPP will be beneficial.

    “In general, the overwhelming response of the industry has been positive," Boian said.

    And there's good reason for that, especially among apparel and pack makers. Much of the industry shifted production to Asian countries in the last 20 years to cut costs and ramp up production.

    Osprey Takes Flight

    Osprey Packs, which has called Cortez, Colorado home since 1987, moved its manufacturing to southeast Asia in 2003. CEO Tom Barney said the move allowed them to grow into an industry leader that still has a large presence in southwest Colorado.

    He's hopeful the TPP will reduce the 17 percent duty his company pays on every pack it imports from its contracted factories in Vietnam.

    "For every $10 of factory cost there’s an additional $1.70 added on that’s paid to the government," Barney said. "I can tell you that that is many, many millions of dollars over the years."

    The OIA says duties on outdoor products average 14 percent or higher, with some reaching 40 percent.

    Barney couldn't say where exactly such savings would go just yet, but said they could trickle down to retailers and consumers.

    Boutique Outfit Doubles Down On Local

    While companies with operations overseas stand to gain, smaller outfits seem more apathetic to the deal. One of those is Voormi, an outerwear maker in the southern Colorado city of Pagosa Springs that employs 10 people.

    Chief marking officer Timm Smith said the industry's focus on growth has led big companies to move production overseas and abandon the small towns they once anchored. Chaco left Paonia in 2009, for example.

    “We know we could’ve gone and done that," Smith said. “We made a commitment that as we grow as a company, each progressive horizon, we re-invest back into more localized manufacturing.”

    Since it started in 2010, Voormi has built a network of rural manufacturers around the country. Wool is harvested in the Rocky Mountain region. Then it's cleaned and spun into yarn on the East Coast. Finally, it's cut and sewn in facilities in Pagosa Springs, Rifle, the Front Range and the West Coast. In addition to supporting local economies that otherwise depend on tourism dollars, Smith said it makes for good business too.

    “We can keep a keen eye on what’s selling, what’s working, and what’s not," he said, adding that he hopes bigger players imitate their model. “We’re the microbrew of apparel, hoping to become the regional craft brew of apparel.”

    But will the next generation of backpackers, kayakers and skiiers continue to pay a premium for a such a product? Much like the terms of the TPP, we'll have to wait to find out.

    - See more at:

  • 08 Oct 2015 10:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This information comes from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative website.

    On October 4, 2015, Ministers of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam – announced conclusion of their negotiations. The result is a high-standard, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced agreement that will promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections. We envision conclusion of this agreement, with its new and high standards for trade and investment in the Asia Pacific, as an important step toward our ultimate goal of open trade and regional integration across the region.


    Five defining features make the Trans-Pacific Partnership a landmark 21st-century agreement, setting a new standard for global trade while taking up next-generation issues. These features include:

    • Comprehensive market access. The TPP eliminates or reduces tariff and non-tariff barriers across substantially all trade in goods and services and covers the full spectrum of trade, including goods and services trade and investment, so as to create new opportunities and benefits for our businesses, workers, and consumers.

    • Regional approach to commitments. The TPP facilitates the development of production and supply chains, and seamless trade, enhancing efficiency and supporting our goal of creating and supporting jobs, raising living standards, enhancing conservation efforts, and facilitating cross-border integration, as well as opening domestic markets.

    • Addressing new trade challenges. The TPP promotes innovation, productivity, and competitiveness by addressing new issues, including the development of the digital economy, and the role of state-owned enterprises in the global economy.

    • Inclusive trade. The TPP includes new elements that seek to ensure that economies at all levels of development and businesses of all sizes can benefit from trade. It includes commitments to help small- and medium-sized businesses understand the Agreement, take advantage of its opportunities, and bring their unique challenges to the attention of the TPP governments. It also includes specific commitments on development and trade capacity building, to ensure that all Parties are able to meet the commitments in the Agreement and take full advantage of its benefits.

    • Platform for regional integration. The TPP is intended as a platform for regional economic integration and designed to include additional economies across the Asia-Pacific region.   


    The TPP includes 30 chapters covering trade and trade-related issues, beginning with trade in goods and continuing through customs and trade facilitation; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; technical barriers to trade; trade remedies; investment; services; electronic commerce; government procurement; intellectual property; labour; environment; ‘horizontal’ chapters meant to ensure that TPP fulfils its potential for development, competitiveness, and inclusiveness; dispute settlement, exceptions, and institutional provisions.

    In addition to updating traditional approaches to issues covered by previous free trade agreements (FTAs), the TPP incorporates new and emerging trade issues and cross-cutting issues. These include issues related to the Internet and the digital economy, the participation of state-owned enterprises in international trade and investment, the ability of small businesses to take advantage of trade agreements, and other topics.

    TPP unites a diverse group of countries – diverse by geography, language and history, size, and levels of development. All TPP countries recognize that diversity is a unique asset, but also one which requires close cooperation, capacity-building for the lesser-developed TPP countries, and in some cases special transitional periods and mechanisms which offer some TPP partners additional time, where warranted, to develop capacity to implement new obligations.

    Follow this link to see a summary of all 30 chapters in the agreement.

  • 08 Oct 2015 10:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in the Washington Post

    October 6

    The benefits of signing up for the biggest trade deal in history may take a while to materialize in the three Latin American countries that agreed Monday to the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    Chile, Peru and Mexico already have free-trade deals in place with the United States. And their leaders are among Latin America's weakest and least popular, which does not bode well for TPP's swift and easy approval in their respective legislatures.

    "These countries had a tough time getting their respective trade deals passed at home, and will face stiff difficulties again as they have had to sign on to deeper rules for intellectual property, pharmaceuticals and finance," said Kevin Gallagher, a Latin America trade expert at Boston University's Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.

    As a matter of symbolism, though, the TPP signing matters for another reason: It solidifies the emerging ideological split in a region where the old left vs. right divide has grown more and more meaningless.

    A generation ago, as much of Latin America emerged from Cold War-era military autocracies, the region was split between conservatives who pushed the privatization of infrastructure and services, and leftists who demanded a bigger state role in alleviating poverty. That debate is now pretty much a dead one.

    With the exception of a few smaller states like Honduras and Paraguay, Latin America no longer has any governments that identify as conservative or right-wing. Left-leaning candidates and centrists have won elections again and again with populist social welfare programs and nationalist messages.

    A far more significant difference is how Latin American countries view their place in the global economy and their relationship to the United States. Several nations in the region, especially Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia, continue to blast the United States as a meddling imperial bully while courting China as their preferred commodity market and creditor.

    The TPP nations -- Chile, Peru and Mexico -- are three pillars of the region's other bloc, where debates about free trade vs. protectionism have largely been settled, and relations with the United States are viewed more as an opportunity than a threat.

    This division could grow sharper in the next few years, if the TPP nations economically outperform others in the region who have edged closer to China.

    With global commodity prices in a rut, Latin American governments on both sides of the split are facing a new period of austerity and potential instability.

    "The TPP could open up new markets for these three Latin American countries and help alleviate the impact of the slowdown in the Chinese economy," said Michael Shifter, president of Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C., think tank. "It is hardly a silver bullet that will offset the deceleration, but could give the economies a slight boost over the medium and long term."

    Other countries in South America will be watching Chile and Peru closely to gauge the trade agreement's economic impact and political challenges. Colombia, which has a free trade agreement with the United States, is also looking to join TPP as it opens up to new members, and other nations could also sign on later, according to Shannon K. O'Neil, a Latin America scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations.

    "Embracing the TPP means that you’re betting your economic growth will come from exports, imports, and exposure to the rest of the world in ways that some of these other countries — which have chosen more protected, state-led industrial policies — have not at least yet decided to do," she wrote.

    "The question is, once the TPP is in effect, would those countries down the road want to join? They could later if their populations and governments felt it would be beneficial."

    Nick Miroff is a Latin America correspondent for The Post, roaming from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands to South America’s southern cone. He has been a staff writer since 2006.

    To view the original article, click here.

  • 08 Oct 2015 9:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This article originally appeared in The Economist

    October 5, 2015

    AFTER more than five years of negotiations, representatives from 12 countries in Asia and the Americas finally struck a deal today on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an ambitious and contentious free-trade pact. It is the biggest and deepest multilateral trade deal in years, encompassing countries that account for 40% of the world’s economy. But it might prove even more important than that if it succeeds in its ambition to “define the rules of the road” for trade in Asia, as Michael Froman, America’s lead negotiator, put it.

    Mr Froman’s office estimates that TPP will see more than 18,000 tariffs on American products reduced to zero. But tariffs, which have already been greatly reduced among TPP’s members, are not the most touted bit of the treaty. More important are the minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property, workers and the environment. All parties will be compelled to follow the International Labour Organisation’s basic principles on workers’ rights, for example. By the same token, countries that do not live up to the deal’s environmental rules can be pursued through the same dispute-settlement mechanism that will be used to adjudicate commercial grievances. There are even rules barring countries from favouring state-owned enterprises—a big step for the likes of Malaysia and Vietnam.

    Two leaders will be particularly pleased to see a deal done. For Barack Obama, TPP represents the first (and possibly only) lasting evidence of his administration’s “pivot” towards Asia. It shows America’s continued commitment to the region, and its unwillingness to cede primacy to China. China’s success in recruiting American allies as founding members of its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank earlier this year seems to have prompted America to redouble its efforts to square TPP away.

    Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, sees in TPP a chance to help the “third arrow” of his plan for economic revitalisation hit its mark. Big interest groups such as Japan’s farmers will no longer be quite so cosseted. Meanwhile, Mr Abe hopes that the promise of greater market access for Japanese exporters, at a time when the yen is relatively weak, will generate faster economic growth. In particular, TPP should boost trade between America and Japan—something to celebrate, since the pair are the world’s biggest and third-biggest economies.

    The stakes are lower for a group of other rich members—Australia, Canada, New Zealand—each of which nonetheless fought to extract concessions from America. Australia succeeded in trimming the period of protection from generic imitators that America demanded for biologic drugs from 12 years to eight; Canada preserved its quota system for various agricultural products, allowing only limited duty-free imports; New Zealand won greater access for its dairy exports.

    The full implications of the deal are not yet known, however, since TPP has been negotiated under a thick blanket of secrecy. This was intended to make it easier for the signatories to offer concessions without being pilloried at home. But it has stoked the anxieties of industry groups on both sides of the Pacific. It will be weeks before the agreement’s 30 chapters are translated and published in full.

    Moreover, lawmakers in the 12 participating countries must now approve the agreement. This should be straightforward in places like Japan, where the ruling party has a commanding majority. But Canada faces a knife-edge election on 19th October. One of the three main parties is campaigning against TPP, arguing that it will kill farm jobs.

    The biggest row will be in America, where Congress has 90 days to review the deal before putting it to an up-or-down vote, with no amendments. Although Republicans, traditionally the party of free trade, have a majority in both houses of Congress, they are divided on TPP’s merits. Donald Trump, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination next year, has described it as “an attack on America’s business”. Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender, has also refused to endorse the deal, albeit not quite so flamboyantly.

    Such opposition is ill-advised. The slowing of the Chinese economy and a tepid global recovery from the financial crisis have led to a long-term slowdown in world trade. Indeed by some measures, trade is actually declining. This is worrying because trade remains the most reliable way for poor countries to become richer. TPP would undoubtedly help spur it, especially for the poorer members of the club. Moreover, TPP’s members claim that they are open to other countries joining the deal. That holds out the prospect of TPP not only freeing trade, but also of instituting a more predictable, rules- based business environment, even in places currently excluded from the deal. Its biggest failing—that it does not include China—could evaporate, if TPP’s members have the courage to push on.

    To view the original article click here.

  • 03 Sep 2015 10:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Export Grant is a financial assistance program administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). The program is funded by the Minority Business Office in partnership with the Colorado Small Business Development Center, the Rocky Mountain World Trade Center Institute, and the Office of International Trade at OEDIT.  The grant and training provide an educational pathway and equip small and medium-sized Minority and Women-Owned Colorado businesses to develop a strategic plan for export markets.

    • Grants under the Export Grant, will be capped at $10,000 per business to cover costs associated with export projects, activities, or services undertaken during the period July 1, 2015 – June 20, 2016.
    • Approved applicants are required to attend the Leading Edge for International Opportunities class curriculum. The ten-session course provides practical training for small businesses on all aspects of international trade. The course is available in-person or via recorded webinar and will instruct attendees on the nuts and bolts of international trade and business transactions. Completion of the course will provide participant businesses with certification to the NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) as part of the grant and World Trade Center of Denver annual membership and WTC Annual Meeting on Sept. 22, 2015. The value to attendees for the classes, WTC membership, and NASBITE certification will be covered by the Colorado SBDC.
    • The Office of International Trade is aiding in the selection of grant awardees as well as providing subsequent local and international consulting to the recipients of the grant.
    • Each grant recipient will receive the amount determined by OEDIT. Proof of expenditures will be required to be submitted to the Minority Business Office (i.e. proof of payment, receipts, and bank/credit card statements).
    • A mid-year progress report and a final report will need to be filed with the Minority Business Office through the grant cycle.
    • Grant applications will be accepted through October 1, 2015. Late acceptance will be approved based on individual exceptions.

    Eligibility Requirements

    • Company employees less than 100 employees globally
    • Company is headquartered in Colorado or at least 50% of its employees are based in Colorado
    • Company is registered and in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State
    • Company ownership is 51% minority or women-owned, who have primary responsibility for managing day-to-day operations

    Apply for this grant by clicking here.

  • 07 Aug 2015 8:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following article was originally published by The Colorado Statesman

    Hudson: Chamber of Americas hears discussion about Trans-Pacific trade agreement

    Last Thursday the Chamber of the Americas sponsored a luncheon tutorial to explain the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement at the Palm restaurant in Denver. Chamber director Gil Cisneros invited Tyler Rauert, a trade attorney with the Polaris Law Group in Longmont, to educate members on the TPP’s potential impacts on Colorado exporters. Rauert kicked off his remarks by pointing out that “there is absolutely nothing sexy about trade agreements. For the most part, they are hundreds of pages guaranteed to cure your insomnia.” But, he added, “A few people care a lot because they have a lot at stake.”

    A dozen participating countries sprinkled around the Pacific Rim will be finalizing the terms of this agreement over the next few weeks in Hawaii. Peru and Chile have joined with the three NAFTA nations (the United States, Mexico and Canada) along the ocean’s Eastern Rim, while Japan, together with five other Asian nations and Australia — but not China — make up the negotiating team.

    Rauert speculated that Mexico was likely to emerge as the primary beneficiary from this agreement. Not only will NAFTA rules automatically be extended to Peru and Chile, but other Latin and Central American countries will not only be free to join but will be expected to sign on once an agreement is ratified. The pact, which is likely to include as many as 25 chapters, only discusses trade matters in three of these. The remainder of the agreement consists of rules governing implementation. Digital trade will be addressed for the first time, as well as the treatment of intellectual property, particularly pharmaceuticals, where the parties will have to strike a reasonable balance between innovation and affordable access. But with small businesses amounting to 83 percent of American exporters, lifting tariffs and other obstacles offers them real commercial opportunities. Nonetheless, there have been significant objections from labor organizations and environmental groups.

    While the White House argues TPP is the toughest agreement ever struck with trading partners, critics complain the guarantee of third-party arbitration allows private parties to overturn sovereign law in member states. But experts say this simply isn’t true. Since 1958, with the adoption of the New York Convention, all participants in international trade agreements — virtually every nation on the planet — have agreed to rely on arbitration in order to avoid lengthy appeals through national court systems. Local statutes can be whatever sovereign legislatures approve, and they remain unchanged, but financial claims filed for interference with investments specifically permitted under terms of trade agreements are always adjudicated through arbitration. This framework has been in place for more than half a century. These judgments are usually monetary settlements that compensate for demonstrated damages. Without this neutral process, most trade agreements would collapse under the weight of suspicion and mistrust. Rauert observed that both labor and environmentalists are likely to obtain a better deal from the Obama administration than any that might emerge down the road.

    There will be losers, however. Viet Nam is rapidly becoming a major apparel producer, replacing China, Pakistan and Bangladesh as a textile center. But Rauert suggests the U. S. has probably lost all the manufacturing jobs it’s going to lose — in fact, he argued, many heavy-industry jobs, especially those with high energy requirements, are returning to the U. S. because the fracking boom has driven down production costs. Next up for the Chamber of the Americas will be a trade mission to Cuba in October. Cuba libres and cigars anyone?

    For the original article, please click here.

  • 27 Jul 2015 1:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following article originally appeared on POLITICO

    Sen. Mitch McConnell is sprinting toward a showdown with House Republicans over infrastructure programs on the brink of expiring, and the Export-Import Bank — an agency the GOP leader loathes — could be his ace in the hole.

    McConnell, the Senate majority leader, isn’t shy about his distaste for the government-backed program — on Sunday he called it a “New Deal relic” that’s outlived its usefulness. But renewing the charter for the bank, the country’s chief credit export agency, could be the key to pushing his ambitious transportation bill through Congress.

    House leaders are divided over whether to re-up the bank, which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other hardline conservatives decry as “crony capitalism.” And Cruz ruffled more than a few feathers Friday when he accused McConnell of telling a “flat-out lie” about his plans for the Ex-Im bank.

    But enough House lawmakers support renewing Ex-Im that they could back an otherwise detestable transportation bill that does just that. And the White House has made clear that whatever transportation bill lands on the president’s desk come end-of-July better have an Ex-Im reauthorization attached.

    That leaves both chambers with an old-fashioned game of chicken, as the clock ticks down on a July 31 deadline to do something — anything — before transportation programs expire, shuttering funding for state projects and furloughing thousands of government employees.

    In a meeting with transportation lobbyists Friday afternoon, McConnell said he was open to a short-term extension if it was needed but insisted that any temporary patch the Senate sends over to the House will not have an Ex-Im provision attached.

    It’s all but guaranteed lawmakers won’t reach consensus on a long-term transportation bill by Friday, when current highway and transit authority expires. And House leaders are unlikely to just take up the Senate plan and move it through the chamber, in effect agreeing to six years of transportation policy that House lawmakers had no hand in developing.

    Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who opposes the Senate proposal, said Sunday that his sense is that “the hurdles that have been thrown up are probably overcomeable” in the upper chamber, but that “the House Republicans show no interest in doing this. … Bad policy, bad pay-fors, better alternative.”

    House leaders in both parties spent last week urging the Senate to just take up its plan — a mid-December extension that gives lawmakers a handful of months to pull together a sweeping tax revamp that would also provide several years of infrastructure funding. And some top Senate Democrats have indicated that is also their preferred method.

    But McConnell is highly skeptical of an international tax overhaul coming together this year and is ready to clear the Highway Trust Fund off the congressional calendar through the 2016 election cycle.

    “Read my lips: There will not be international tax reform this year,” McConnell said in Friday’s meeting, according to multiple sources. The Kentucky Republican also stressed that the offsets being used to provide three years of guaranteed funding likely wouldn’t be around later in the fall, according to sources in the meeting, because lawmakers would try to use the pay-fors for sequester-related budget relief.

    What unfolds over the next few days in the Senate could put House leaders in quite a pickle, just as lawmakers are antsy to leave town for the August recess.

    If the bipartisan bill McConnell has crafted with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) passes the Senate later this week, the upper chamber could also move a short-term extension, possibly around two months, and send both proposals to the House.

    House leaders would then be faced with a choice: Bring up the McConnell bill with three years of infrastructure funding and an Ex-Im renewal and embrace it as is, or take up the short-term patch sans any Ex-Im provisions and risk the ire of the White House.

    As with everything in Congress, there are no guarantees. And it’s possible House GOP leaders could find some way to out-maneuver the Senate and force the upper chamber to swallow their five-month patch, or find a creative third way.

    But, at least in the Senate, an Ex-Im revival could be just the pot-sweetener needed to rally enough Democrats to ensure final passage of the bipartisan infrastructure plan.

    An amendment renewing the bank, which expired at the end of June, easily cleared a procedural hurdle Sunday afternoon, setting the stage for a vote on the proposal Monday.

    Monday’s Ex-Im vote is expected to succeed. And coupling an Ex-Im revival with the multiyear highway and transit bill could be enough to convince tepid Senate Democrats to support the measure, sending the legislation over to the House later this week just before current authority is set to expire.

    “I could support a bill with this framework,” said Sen. Ben Cardin after Sunday’s vote. Cardin, a big backer of Ex-Im, voted against advancing the bill last week and noted he still has concerns with some of the bill’s highway and rail safety provisions he said must be worked out first.

    The Maryland Democrat is likely not alone. If the McConnell-Boxer bill is the only path forward for Ex-Im, that could convince enough Senate Democrats who are otherwise lukewarm to the bill’s policy and offsets to vote in support of final passage.

    Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who has been forthcoming about supporting the bill despite still having qualms with several aspects, said he’s all for the Ex-Im language. “I mean, it’s a useful agency,” he told POLITICO. “It helps businesses across the country, including in Maine, and it returns money to the Treasury.”

    McConnell again indicated his openness Sunday to considering amendments that are actually relevant to the bill, once the Senate moves past unrelated issues like Ex-Im reauthorization.

    But Senate aides have said it is unlikely the chamber will have the time to fit in debate on many of the more than 260 amendments that have been filed, given the goal of reaching a passage vote before the House plans to gavel out for August recess on Thursday.

    On Sunday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said it’s a shame that Senate leaders are allowing unrelated issues to dominate so much of the debate while dozens of amendments sit in the queue, untouched.

    “I’m really disappointed and angry that these irrelevant amendments are receiving votes when a number of the very pertinent and urgent measures I have proposed may be denied votes,” Blumenthal told POLITICO.

    “Transportation safety, auto defects, NHTSA powers, penalties for violations — are all the subjects of my amendments that are directly pertinent and important to this bill may not receive votes because we’re spending a lot of time and energy on repealing the Affordable Care Act, which is totally irrelevant,” Blumenthal said.

    The Connecticut Democrat has offered a bevy of amendments, including requiring used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before selling them; requiring companies that rent trucks to provide customers with maintenance reports; reuqiring the federal government to fine or imprison — or both — auto industry executives who fail to inform the federal auto safety watchdog agency and the public about auto safety issues in a timely manner.

    “So I’m hopeful we can avoid this morass and really focus on the measures that are profoundly significant and also relevant to this bill,” he said.

    To read the original article, click here.

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  • 13 Jul 2015 10:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following article was originally published at Bloomberg Law

    House hearings are planned on separate bills to lift the 40-year ban on crude oil exports as the issue begins to gain more attention from House Republicans.

    The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing July 8 on legislation (H.R. 2369) from committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas) that is nearly identical to legislation (S. 1312) to lift the ban introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

    The hearing, Energy & the Rural Economy: The Economic Impact of Exporting Crude Oil, is scheduled to feature testimony from Continental Resources Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Harold Hamm, as well as Terrence A. Duffy, executive chairman and president of CME Group, formerly known as the Chicago Mercantile Stock Exchange, and Frank Rusco of the Government Accountability Office.

    In addition, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power has scheduled a separate hearing July 9 on legislation (H.R. 702) to remove the ban from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas).

    Policy Out of Touch

    Conaway's bill, which is being co-sponsored by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), would authorize the export of U.S. crude oil and condensate, which was banned in the wake of the 1970s Arab oil embargo.

    “The 40-year ban on oil exports is out-of-date and out of touch with America's thriving energy industry,” Conaway said in May, when he introduced the bill (96 ITD, 5/19/15).

    Witnesses scheduled to testify at the Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing include Czech Ambassador to the U.S. Petr Gandalovic; Mark Kreinbihl, group president of the Gorman-Rupp Co.; Kirk Lippold, president of Lippold Strategies LLC; and W. David Montgomery, senior vice president of NERA Economic Consulting.

    70 Co-Sponsors

    In addition to repealing the section of the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act that established the crude oil export ban, the Barton bill, which has 70 co-sponsors, would bar the federal government from imposing or enforcing any similar restrictions and would require the Energy Department to submit a report on the appropriate size and makeup of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

    Barton said he is lobbying House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to include his bill in a broader energy package being developed in the committee, although analysts think it will likely be moved separately.

    Legislation to end the export ban got a boost in June when Upton said the issue should be on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's “agenda this year” (106 ITD, 6/3/15).

    Previously, Upton and other committee members, such as Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), have indicated they were in no hurry to act on the ban, which refiners such as Alon USA, Monroe Energy, PBF Energy and Philadelphia Energy Solutions argue should be left in place.

    Supporters of changing the law include the Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents companies such as Whiting Petroleum Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp.

    In a July 7 letter, the group said the White House should use administrative action to lift the crude oil export ban.

    “Today, with the advancement of hydraulic fracturing and improved horizontal drilling technologies, America's energy industry can provide the nation's oil and natural gas at levels not seen since the 1970s,” IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell wrote in a letter addressed to President Barack Obama. “However, the 1970s laws that govern America's crude oil exports are outdated and inconsistent.”

    Lifting the ban would lower domestic gasoline prices, create jobs and increase America's foreign policy influence, the IPAA said.

    To view the original article, please click here.

  • 08 Jul 2015 2:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The article was originally featured in Company Week

    For several years there have been indications that manufacturing within the United States is making a comeback.

    A Boston Consulting Group survey found that 21 percent of U.S. manufacturers are moving, or planning to move, a share of their production back home from offshore locations. Walmart launched an initiative to source $50 billion in additional goods that are "Made In America" within the next decade. Whirlpool, GE, Peerless, Motorola, and a host of other companies large and small are re-shoring -- reversing previous offshoring decisions.

    Given that manufacturing and the jobs it creates is so critical to a strong and stable economy, and that 80 percent of world trade is in goods and not services, it's a positive sign, and all concerned parties would be quite pleased to see it continue.

    However, realists will admit that stateside manufacturing will never return to what it once was. For example, one of the factors that brought GE's water heater plant from China back to Kentucky were wage concessions from $22/hour to $13/hour. Thanks to automation, a mothballed textile plant in South Carolina is up and running again, but 130 workers are making what it once took 2,000 workers to produce. To compete on a worldwide playing field, a company must identify and exploit comparative advantages that give it an edge over its rivals, and sometimes that can actually include producing goods stateside.

    Most reshoring success stories are smaller in scale and do not bring back thousands of jobs. But that's not a bad thing, considering the average U.S. manufacturing company employs less than 40 people. It means companies of any size can consider reshoring.

    Several factors are causing companies to reshore. Although overseas labor costs are still a fraction of American costs, wages in China and other countries are rising by at least 15 percent annually, and with wages decreasing in the U.S., the gap is shrinking.

    But that's only part of it. American companies were somewhat myopic in their decision to manufacture abroad, basing their decision solely on labor costs which are typically only 20 to 30 percent of total product cost. Include transport and inventory costs, insurance, currency rate risks, VATs, and duties, and the offshore bargain isn't as impressive. Additional factors should be weighed, such as vastly longer lead times and delays, quality issues due to language barriers or corporate cultures, less flexibility in meeting customers' changes in demand, or specification, to identify just a few.

    When the comparative advantage of lower overseas labor costs can be sufficiently reduced, often achieved by automating its processes, many companies can rationally make a decision to reshore, when factoring in the benefits of producing goods in our own backyard.

    Rather than focusing on labor alone, companies are learning to evaluate a product's Total Landed Cost. TLC models attempt to sum up all of the supply chain costs up to the delivery of your product to your customer. Looking at the big picture, many companies discover that their savings wasn't what they thought. And even if there is some savings overseas, getting your product delivered 10 weeks faster, or being able to market your product as "Made in USA" might outweigh a slightly higher TLC.

    Unfortunately when production went overseas, so did the much of the infrastructure. Would you be able to re-shore if your supplier base is still in India? Can you find skilled employees to produce your goods and keep your equipment running? Should you invest in the machinery that will automate a process in order to build a quality product efficiently? And where is your customer base? Especially for larger durable goods, it is usually more cost effective to manufacture them where they're sold.

    The decision to offshore manufacturing is more complicated than originally assumed. For some commodities, it will always make sense to seek the lowest labor costs and send production abroad. But for others, the case to re-shore is more compelling.

    This is a story that's still unfolding. From President Obama to governors and mayors to consultants and unions, everyone is watching this activity closely, unsure if it will be a meaningful trend or simply a modest adjustment. Reshoring will occur only when it makes financial and logistical sense, not out of patriotism and hopefully not with excessive government incentives.

    As leaders and experts within your markets and processes, it falls upon you to review your business models and determine where is best to manufacture your products. After that analysis, maybe a few more jobs will be heading back to the United States.

    For the original article, please click here.

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