Owens says policy changes are needed in wake of widening trade deficit as exports drop
Monday, October 15, 2012 - 2:33 pm

As the U.S. trade deficit reportedly widened as a result of exports falling to their lowest level in six months, North County Congressman Bill Owens says policy changes are needed if U.S. businesses are going to step-up and fill the gap.

“If we’re going to put people back to work, we need to make sure the ground is fertile for companies to create products in the United States and sell them to our trading partners around the world,” said Owens. “That means enacting policies to ensure countries like China are playing by the rules. As it stands, China simply is not acting in good faith, which hinders growth opportunities for business and puts American jobs at risk.”

Owens has long supported policies to promote domestic manufacturing and hold countries like China accountable for their trade practices, including:

• co-sponsoring the “ENFORCE Act,” H.R. 3057, which would create mechanisms for businesses and the federal government to challenge countries that willfully evade payments on their imports.

• co-sponsoring H.R. 639, The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, which would allow the U.S. to take action against currency manipulators by treating currency undervaluation as a prohibited export subsidy. Congressman Owens also signed a “discharge petition” on this legislation in an attempt to force House leadership to bring it to the floor for a vote.

• writing to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk calling for the inclusion of New York dairy and poultry products in Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations.

• traveling to Canada to encourage companies there to expand their operations and create jobs in the United States, a continuation of his career-long efforts to encourage Canadian companies to expand into New York.

The Associated Press reported Oct. 11 that the U.S. trade deficit grew 4.1 percent, accounting for a $44.2 billion deficit in August. They also reported that although the deficit with China fell 2.3 percent in August, “the U.S. deficit is on track to surpass last year’s record, the highest ever recorded with a single country.”

Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh, is facing Watertown venture capitalist Matt Doheny, a Republican, and environmental activist Don Hassig, the Green Party candidate from Colton, in the race for the 21st Congressional District.