“Without a level playing field globally, U.S. production cannot compete fairly, no matter how hard the workers work. As our trade deficit spirals out of control, and imports swamp exports, America’s workers are cast away.”
Congresswoman Kaptur issued her call for presidential and congressional leadership after Ford Motor Company officials announced plans to close plants and offer buyouts to its entire U.S. workforce.
The plant closings include two in Congresswoman Kaptur’s district: the Maumee Stamping Plant near Toledo, which employs approximately 650 workers, and the ACH (Automotive Components Holdings) factory in Sandusky that employs approximately 1,200 workers.
Kaptur urged the president to take several steps to save the beleaguered auto industry:
• Renegotiate failed trade agreements, such as NAFTA, that have accelerated the flight of jobs to Mexico, China and other low-wage platforms.
• Begin talks immediately with leaders of the Japan, South Korea and other closed markets to open these important markets to American-made vehicles and parts.
• Create long-term financing programs to assist Ford and other American automakers in converting their production platforms, as Congress did for Chrysler in the 1980s.
• Take emergency steps to reverse the U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world, such as imposing a currently adjustment tariff.
• Support legislation helping American companies deal with so-called legacy costs for health care and pensions for retired workers.
• Offer additional tax incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles.
• Appoint an “energy czar” in the White House with powers to coordinate all Cabinet agencies in restoring U.S. energy independence within 10 years.
Kaptur is the author of two pieces of legislation that would help save the U.S. auto industry. The Balancing Trade Act of 2005 (H.R. 4405) would require the president to take necessary steps to create a balanced trade relationship when the U.S. deficit with any country exceeds $10 million for more than three consecutive years.
The Biofuels Energy Independence Act (H.R. 388) would promote production, distribution and development of biofuels to lower U.S. dependence on costly imported oil.