Raymond Richman - Jesse Richman - Howard Richman
Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog
Balancing Trade Act
Representative Kaptur of Ohio introduced H.R. 192 at the beginning of the 113th Congress. This bill, the "Balancing Trade Act of 2013" requires the President to develop a plan to balance trade with countries that have the largest trade surplus with the U.S. Representative Kaptur introduced the same bill in the 112th Congress. That version of the legislation had 6 cosponsors, and died in subcommittee. The key language of the bill is as follows:
"a) Action by the President- If in 3 consecutive calendar years the United States has a trade deficit with another country of $10,000,000,000 or more, the President shall take the necessary steps to create a trading relationship with the country that would eliminate or substantially reduce that trade deficit, by entering into an agreement with that country or otherwise."
The bill would be stronger if it specifically empowered the president to take significant actions to balance trade. For instance, if it authorized the president to impose import certificates or the scaled tariff. But establishing the notion of balanced trade as a key goal for U.S. trade policy with China and the other major contributors to the U.S. trade deficit is laudable, and this bill deserves notice on that basis. The text of the bill can be read at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/113-h192/text.
Since Congresswoman Kaptur does not have a seat on the Ways and Means committee, the chances that H.R. 192 will advance in the 113th Congress are extremely small unless it acquires a much larger and more bipartisan support coalition in the House.
Journal of Economic Literature:
Atlantic Economic Journal: