They are trying to sneak through a proposal that would reclassify U.S. corporations that offshored U.S. jobs as “factoryless goods” manufacturers.
Just by changing the data, the proposal would make it seem that our massive manufacturing trade deficit doesn't exist. The reason for it is to dampen opposition to more-of-the-same job-killing trade pacts like the TPP. It would wipe out the most compelling evidence that we urgently need a new American trade policy.
Here's how it would work. The Apple iPhone is assembled in China by a firm called Foxconn. Under this deceitful proposal, Foxconn would be considered a "manufacturing service provider." The phone wouldn't be an import when it's shipped to the United States. Apple would be considered a "factoryless manufacturer." And when an iPhone is exported from China to Germany, for example, it would be counted as a U.S. manufactured export to Germany.
By hiding the damage done by NAFTA and the China WTO deal, this proposal is designed to make it easier to pass job-killing trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). Negotiations are underway for both.
The San Diego Newsroom is horrified by the proposal:
Since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, the U. S. has generated the highest trade deficit in the world and the largest in the world's recorded history. If you add the annual trade deficit in goods as shown on the Census Bureau website, the total is a staggering figure of -$10.347 trillion.
The United States now has a trade deficit with 88 countries according to data in the book, Buying Back America. Some deficits are small, but some are enormous. Our top six trading partners of Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, Germany, and South Korea represent 64% of our total trade deficit. In 2013, our total trade deficit in goods was $688.4 billion, of which China represented 46% at $318.4 billion. However, our 20-year total trade deficit with China since 1994 is a staggering -$3.287 trillion.
Now, the current Administration wants to cover up the evidence of the damage to our economy by changing the rules of how a manufacturer is defined instead of responding to the American public's demand to know where products are manufactured so they can have the freedom to choose whether or not to buy "Made in USA" products.You can help fight this outrageous proposal by emailing John.Burns.Murphy@census.gov to tell him what you think of it. The deadline for comments is July 21.