Friday, December 15, 2017

China is Still Breaking WTO Trade Promises 16 Years Later

By Alliance for American Manufacturing

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Washington, D.C. - December 15, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- China's years of broken promises, non-market economy, and predatory trade practices have decimated American factory jobs and still threaten to put U.S. manufacturers out of business 16 years after it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"Over a decade later and the U.S.-China state-of-play hasn't changed much," said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). "China is still making promises it doesn't intend to keep and demanding even more access to our markets. We're living in a 'China first' world, and if our leaders don't act, our domestic factory jobs will continue to disappear."

Beijing has done little regarding economic reform since 2001 when the country joined the WTO. For example, the Chinese government requires intellectual property transfers from foreign companies operating within its borders, subsidizes companies that flood global markets with cheap imports, and skirts international trade law.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jingping has demanded China be considered a "market economy," a designation that eases trade rules based on the principle that a country's economy is open rather than managed by the state. The United States has six criteria outlining a market economy, and China fails to meet a single requirement.

"China has shown its unwillingness to meet its commitments, and unless we insist it do so, the next generation of industry will not be made in America," Paul said. "The White House has voiced valid criticism of the WTO and should continue fighting for a fair dispute system. Concurrently, the administration should follow-through on open Section 232 steel and aluminum imports. American jobs are at stake, and workers deserve action now."

U.S.-China economic facts:

1. Chinese state firms contribute between 25-30 percent of China’s industrial output on average, although state-owned enterprises in some sectors exceed 90 percent as of 2016.
2. China’s share of the U.S. goods deficit set a new record in 2015, reaching 50 percent.
3. The cumulative U.S. trade deficit with China since it joined the WTO is over $3.5 trillion.
4. The growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013.
5. The ratio of Chinese imports to U.S. exports is about 4:1.
6. Seventy-five percent of new steel stock since 2000 has come from China.
7. As many as 15,000 U.S. steel and iron workers are facing layoff as a result of Chinese overcapacity, and nearly 33 percent of American steel jobs have vanished during the last two decades.
8. Over 1,000 antidumping cases have been initiated against China globally since 1995.
9. Despite promises to cut capacity, China accounted for over half the world's steel capacity from 2014-2016.
10. All 435 Congressional Districts have lost jobs to China due to Beijing’s unfair trade practices.

See more headlines at The Ponder News Web Site

Student group files suit against Arkansas State for limiting speech to 1% of campus

By Alliance Defending Freedom

Washington, D.C. - December 15, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against Arkansas State University on behalf of the organizers of a student organization, Turning Point USA, to challenge the constitutionality of the ASU five-campus system’s restrictive speech policy. Among other things, the policy limits speech to roughly one percent of the Jonesboro campus.

“Public universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, but those marketplaces can’t function properly when university officials stifle the ability of students to engage in free speech,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer. “Arkansas State’s speech policies contain provisions that the courts have repeatedly struck down as unconstitutional at other schools. The university can demonstrate its dedication to the free exchange of ideas by modifying its policies to comport with the First Amendment.”

When ASU student Ashlyn Hoggard and another individual with Turning Point USA—a non-partisan organization that educates students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government—recently attempted to set up a table outside the student union to generate interest in forming a chapter on campus, an administrator immediately stopped them, citing the university’s speech policy.

That policy unconstitutionally restricts speech activities to small zones on campus that total about one percent of the campus, requires advance permission for students to use the speech zones, and gives university officials free reign to restrict the content and viewpoint of student speech.

“Instead of fostering a marketplace of ideas, Arkansas State is unconstitutionally limiting exposure to ideas,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s judges, legislators, and voters, and with its current policies, Arkansas State is communicating to that generation that the First Amendment doesn’t matter.”

Ethan Nobles, one of more than 3,200 attorneys allied with ADF, is serving as local counsel in the lawsuit, Turning Point USA at Arkansas State University v. The Trustees of Arkansas State University, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

See more headlines at The Ponder News Web Site

Senators Call for Additional Funding and Legislative Measures to Address Sexual Harassment on Capitol Hill

Washington, D.C. - December 15, 2017  (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Patty Murray (D-WA) wrote to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), urging them to take additional steps to address sexual harassment and workplace misconduct in the United States Congress. 

“The reported accounts of misconduct on Capitol Hill necessitate a review of our workplace culture and processes to ensure that equality and justice prevail throughout,” Senators Collins and Murray wrote.

Senators Collins and Murray urged the Senate and Appropriations Committee leaders to provide additional funding to support updated and improved sexual harassment training for legislative branch employees.  They also urged the inclusion of legislative measures to improve the ways that congressional offices respond to both the causes and consequences of these incidents.

“On November 9, the Senate passed unanimously a resolution requiring Senators, staff, interns, fellows, and detailees to participate in workplace harassment training, including sexual harassment,” Senators Collins and Murray continued.  “This is a welcome first step to reforming the culture on Capitol Hill. It also invites an opportunity to invest in necessary improvements to training modules and to hire staff with expertise in workplace harassment and worker-advocate support. We request that you include sufficient funding to the Office of Compliance (OOC) and other appropriate Senate offices to improve these trainings and supports.”

Senators Collins and Murray also urged Leadership to take additional steps to fully address issues of harassment and misconduct, including implementing, at a minimum, the following common sense reforms that have support on both sides of the aisle:

Covering every member of the Congressional community (staff, fellows, interns, pages, and detailees) by the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) and fully informing them about what their rights, protections, and the available procedures are. 

Providing employees who experience harassment with access to independent confidential resources to advise and assist them through the complaint resolution process; and

Reforming the complaint resolution process so that arbitrary time limits and mandatory processes do not discourage reporting.

The complete text of the letter is available HERE

FCC Does Away With Net Neutrality

Washington, D.C. - December 15, 2017  (The Ponder News) -- The Federal Communications Commission voted to do away with the net neutrality rules of 2015. In response, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology, and 15 of her Senate colleagues joined together to announce their plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would undo the action and thus restore the 2015 net neutrality rules.

“Today’s decision threatens our booming innovation economy,” said Senator Cantwell. “It’s impossible to know where the next big companies will come from, which makes an open and free internet all the more important to innovators, entrepreneurs and job creators – especially in the tech-driven Pacific Northwest.”

CRA resolutions allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions at federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers. In accordance with the Congressional Review Act, the Senators will formally introduce the resolution once the rule is submitted to both houses of Congress and published in the federal register. The CRA resolution of disapproval would rescind FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s action and fully restore the Open Internet Order. Congressman Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) plans to introduce a CRA resolution in the House of Representatives.