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Statement on President Bush's Manufacturing Initiative

Author: Richard A. Gephardt, Member and House Democratic Leader,, U.S. House of Representatives (D-MO)
September 15, 2003
Foreign Affairs

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Representative Dick Gephardt, D-MO
September 15, 2003

President Bush’s latest response to the loss of 2.5 million manufacturing jobs under his watch, including 116,000 jobs in Michigan alone, is totally inadequate.

It is time for a different and bold economic plan to reinvigorate this economy and our manufacturing base. As president, I will work from day one to implement trade and economic policies that will work for middle class Americans not against them. I will begin by enacting a tax break for U.S. manufacturers that produce domestically and by repealing tax breaks for U.S. companies that incorporate overseas. I will engage in tough negotiations with China to lower the value of the Chinese currency so U.S. goods can be competitive. I will also press the World Trade Organization to establish an international minimum wage, different for each country, but always high enough so we do not compete with slave, sweat shop, and child labor around the world.

I know a good trade agreement from a bad one. I have supported agreements when they have the proper labor and environmental standards. We need a new approach and a new president. I will be a president who will not negotiate away the future of American workers or the health and welfare of workers in other countries. One of the reasons our nation is hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs is because of our nation’s flawed trade policy -- policies like NAFTA, China PNTR and fast-track. These are the policies that many of my Democratic competitors supported and fought for. When I am president, the American people will never have to worry about bad trade agreements like NAFTA and China PNTR being signed into law.

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