The Brady Briefing is a regular feature of USA Daily Times. In this issue, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) will examine the GOP’s efforts to develop a balanced approach to trade with China, the impact trade policies have on his state of Texas, and celebrates the changes in the US Tax Code.
By: U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
President Trump is right to target China’s unfair trade practices. That country routinely steals America’s intellectual property such as patents, blatantly forces American businesses to turn over their valuable technology to Chinese companies, and floods the world with illegally subsidized steel and aluminum-often hiding it by trans-shipping it through other countries into the U.S.
This costs America tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. It’s been going on a long time, and China is only getting worse.
The longstanding challenge for any U.S. president, however, has been how to stop this piracy without hurting American workers, families and local businesses. The key is to target unfairly traded goods, without sweeping in fairly traded goods-like steel and aluminum-that help American workers and businesses compete and win throughout the world.
The Ways & Means Committee, which I lead, is the leading international trade committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. We’ve been working closely with the President to narrow and target the tariffs so they don’t backfire and harm jobs here at home, especially in Texas. On steel and aluminum, I led a letter from 107 Republican conservatives in the House, encouraging the president to exempt countries like Canada, Mexico and others who use fairly traded goods. We also urged the White House to exempt fairly traded steel and aluminum. The White House agreed to both.
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Here is why it’s important to Texas companies and workers. For example, Grant-Prideco is a U.S. manufacturing company serving the oilfield industry. They ship steel pellets from Corpus Christi to a company in Austria that creates specialized green tubes like no other in the world, which are shipped to the Grant-Prideco plant in Navasota, Texas. Here, 500 skilled workers add threading and other value-then sell them successfully around the world to U.S. and global energy companies.
These green tubes are traded fairly. All good. But if this company faces an extra 25 percent cost imposed by these tariffs, it may not be able to compete and win against foreign competitors who don’t face the extra costs. That could harm current or future jobs in Navasota. President Trump cares about American manufacturing jobs, especially in the energy industry. I’ve met with him in the Oval Office and he is passionate about protecting U.S. jobs. That’s precisely why I’m fighting to make sure fairly traded products are excluded.
Last week President Trump also threatened to impose 25 percent tariffs on up to $150 billion of products China sells into America. China has threatened to retaliate by hitting U.S. agriculture, manufacturing, technology and aerospace with tariffs of their own.
Tariffs are taxes. So lower is better, zero is the best. Clearly President Trump is determined to confront China’s unfair trade practices. It is in both of our countries’ interests – and frankly the world’s – to find a new path forward on unfair trade practices.
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Good news! This coming April 17 is the last time you’ll file your taxes under the old, unfair, complicated tax code. Going forward, America now has a simpler, fairer tax code that lowers taxes for families, protects Main Street businesses, and gives America one of the most competitive tax codes in the world.
Kevin Brady is Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.