The Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, under the chairmanship of Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), today conducted a hearing to examine the challenges of combating unfair international trade practices, such as dumping, intellectual property (IP) theft, currency manipulation, and other non-tariff barriers to trade and their impact on small business exporting.
Trade has become an integral part of the modern economy. American businesses of all sizes exported nearly $2.3 trillion in goods and services in 2013, and as other nations continue to grow and develop their economies, this will create new opportunities for small businesses. However, unfair trade practices like dumping, intellectual property theft, and currency manipulation inhibit their ability to compete and harm job creation. While remedies exist, all too often they are beyond the means and capacity of small businesses. Today’s hearing examined these unfair practices and discussed potential solutions to addressing illegal trade barriers for small businesses.
“Today’s hearing provided insightful recommendations for how to level the playing field for small exporters who are trying to grow by engaging the global marketplace,” said Chairman Tipton. “As our nation continues to recover from a recession, Washington should do whatever possible to reduce unfair export barriers such as dumping, currency manipulation, and intellectual property theft. Reducing such barriers to trade will help small businesses and farms find global markets for their products, grow their businesses, and hire workers. It is important that America expands free trade agreements that reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, harmonize regulations, while also providing stronger trade enforcement and intellectual property protection.”
Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.
Milton Magnus, III, President of M & B Metal Products Company, Inc. in Leeds, AL, testifying on behalf of the American Wire Producers Association, said, “…there are many other industries besides the garment hanger industry that face the same struggles with cheating, illegal transshipment, and evasion under their trade orders. They include the Nail Industry, the innerspring industry, the threaded rod industry, the PC Strand industry, the wire shelving industry, and many more.”
Peter Jhones, Legal Adviser for Spyderco in Golden, CO said, “All internet auction sites should be required to have an infringement notification and removal system that works. This would level the playing field between the U.S. and Chinese owned internet auction and commerce sites. It would also provide an ideal point for IP holders to review and stop the offer-for-sale of infringing items being put into commerce worldwide. Spyderco agrees that it is important for the U.S. to continue embracing free trade principles with our trading partners. However, it is imperative that these partners respect and enforce American intellectual property rights.”
Timothy C. Brightbill, Partner at Wiley Rein, LLP in Washington, DC said, “Small businesses face enormous challenges in the area of international trade. While all U.S. companies face trade barriers and unfair trade practices, these problems can be even greater for small- and medium-sized businesses. Trade laws and regulations are complicated, trade remedy cases are expensive, and trade barriers are becoming more pervasive and more challenging all the time. As a result, it is probably not surprising how few small businesses are able to become substantial exporters of goods or services.”