- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009


Contrary to Daniel Griswold’s argument (“Obama’s protectionist policies hurting low-income Americans,” Nation, Sept. 29), guaranteeing cheap consumer goods should not be the holy grail of U.S. trade policy.

Mr. Griswold’s attack on President Obama’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese-made tires ignores the thorough study and conclusion of the International Trade Commission, which found that a surge of cheap Chinese tire imports had damaged the U.S. tire industry. China agreed to abide by such rulings when it was granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations status and given greater access to U.S. markets. According to testimony before the ITC, tires will cost an average of about $3.50 more because of the tariffs. The cost to the 5,000 American tire workers who lost their jobs during the surge and to America’s international standing is far greater.

Our country cannot honestly preach the gospel of economic opportunity when it refuses to enforce the rights of American workers in the global marketplace. Protecting workers’ rights is a civil and human right that should be central to our trade policy. After eight years in which the Bush administration ignored these rights and the plight of U.S. manufacturing, Mr. Obama’s stand on Chinese tire imports strikes the right balance for both consumers and U.S. workers, and it sends a strong signal that the United States no longer will look the other way when confronted with illegal and unfair trade practices.


President and CEO

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights


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