Trade & Currency
We embrace the benefits of international trade, but trading partners must play by international rules, including currency rulesDownload Talking Points See MSCI's Section 232 Comments on Steel and Aluminum
A century ago when MSCI was founded, most metal service centers were located within a day’s travel of their customers. Today, our members’ supply chains and customers are global. As a nation and as an industry we must embrace the benefits of international trade, but our leaders must ensure our trading partners play by an established set of international rules, including currency rules. Policymakers must foster strategic trading relationships and free and fair trade agreements that encourage U.S. partners to play by those rules, but also allow for expedient and efficient legal action when they are violated.
Why it Matters
Opening new markets and building supply and sourcing opportunities is vital to the competitiveness and growth of the North American manufacturing economy. Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. Trade with foreign nations breeds economic growth, creates well-paying jobs at home and raises workers’ standard of living—as long as there is a level playing field. Failure to confront countries that violate international trade rules reduces employment at home and erodes the United States’ reputation abroad.
Policymakers must –
- Open new markets to North American products.
- Enforce and strengthen current laws and agreements that are meant to prevent and combat unfair trade practices, including currency manipulation.
- Address unfair trade practices through legal action when necessary.
Communications from MSCI:
MSCI Press Statements:
Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Investigations:
Bob Weidner & Holman Head, Sept. 29, 2016: “How to Get the Aluminum Industry and Alabama Growing Again,” Birmingham News
Bob Weidner, April 30, 2015: “Peace Through Strength 2.0,” The Hill
Coalitions & Partnerships:
Related Issues Important to the Industrial Metals Supply Chain
Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Investigations
Metals Service Center Institute consistently has argued that global overcapacity and other unfair trading practices, particularly by China, have harmed the U.S. steel and aluminum markets. To address this circumvention, MSCI has advised federal officials to provide relief for producers up and down the supply chain and to consider consequences of any new trade policy, including: the economic impact of global overcapacity on the entire domestic metals supply chain; transition times and implementation rules to any new policy; availability of domestic metals to meet U.S. national security needs, as well as general industrial and consumer demand; and trade flows under current free trade agreements, including NAFTA. MSCI has asked that Canada and Mexico be excluded from any trade penalties resulting from the 232 investigation on steel.
The United States, Canada, and Mexico are currently negotiating changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement. These discussions are expected to continue well into 2018. The Metals Service Center Institute believes NAFTA has been uniquely successful for North American manufacturing and has urged negotiators to upgrade, but not endanger, the trillion dollar-plus annual trading relationship that NAFTA has established between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Trade creates new jobs and fosters economic growth in the United States by opening up new markets to American-made products. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, 47 percent of U.S. goods exported in 2015 were sent to countries with which the United States had free trade agreements (FTAs). In 2015, merchandise exports to the U.S.’s 20 FTA partners totaled $710 billion. The United States also ran a manufacturing trade surplus of $12 billion with our FTA partners in 2014. However, for U.S. businesses and their workers to gain the full benefits of trade, FTAs with other countries must be fair. These pacts must break down existing barriers to trade and ensure U.S. trading partners play by the same set of rules American manufacturers do.
The Metals Service Center Institute believes that China does not meet the basic requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce for a functioning Market Economy. In order to maintain effective trade enforcement and remedy options for U.S. manufacturers and producers, MSCI advocates that the U.S. government must preserve its right to conduct a fair and accurate assessment of China’s non-market economy status.
Currency manipulation by other countries puts U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage globally, costing the United States jobs and lost economic growth. Economist Arthur Laffer has said, “Persistent currency undervaluation has benefitted the currency manipulators at the expense of countries allowing the flexible adjustment of exchange rates …” Laffer estimates that, as of 2012, the scope of currency manipulation was $1.5 trillion per year. Laffer joins the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in calling for strong efforts to combat currency manipulation. The EPI estimates ending currency manipulation would reduce the United States’ overall trade deficit by $200 billion to $500 billion over three years and would increase annual U.S. gross domestic product by $288 billion to $720 billion. The lower trade deficit and higher growth would create 2.3 million to 5.8 million new jobs.