Senators Graham, Manchin Introduce Bill to Strengthen U.S. Manufacturers

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) introduced the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, which will level the playing field with our foreign trade partners. Companion legislation was introduced by U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wisconsin) in January 2019.

Graham noted that, with some of the lowest tariffs in the world, the United States is not currently positioned to effectively negotiate with foreign countries. This legislation would allow the president to impose reciprocal tariffs on foreign countries who refuse to negotiate.

“I am extremely pleased to be working with Senator Joe Manchin on a long-overdue reform of America’s trading system,” said Senator Graham. “This bill is simple in concept and powerful in impact. Our purpose is clear – whatever tariffs are placed on products from the United States will have an equal tariff placed on goods from that country. With the passage of this bill, the President of the United States now and forever will be able to negotiate tariff arrangements with other countries from a position of strength. This reciprocity bill allows the President to force other countries to reduce their tariffs against American products or we will increase ours to the same level that the country in question applies to American products. Reducing tariffs throughout the world will lead to better trading, but under the current system, US exporters face higher tariffs more than two-thirds of the time.”

“For far too long, West Virginia has been devastated by unfair trade practices,” said Senator Manchin. “Our state has the best workers in the world, and all they need to come out on top is a level playing field. In order to get that, we must make changes to our trading system. That’s why I’m joining my dear friend and colleague Senator Graham to introduce this straightforward but impactful legislation. This bill will give the President the authority to negotiate and enforce tariff agreements when other countries unfairly target our exports. It’s simple – countries that place tariffs on United States goods will receive the same tariff on goods from their country. We need make sure the deck isn’t stacked against the American worker, and this bill does exactly that.”