Resolution to Strengthen U.S-Pakistan Economic Cooperation Exposed

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The Resolution to Strengthen U.S-Pakistan Economic Cooperation was adopted by ALEC's International Relations Task Force on August 5, 2010, approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on September 19, 2010. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

CMD's Bill Summary

From its 1998 resolution in support of "Fast Track" Trade Promotion Authority, which was used to push a permanent normal trading relationship with China through Congress in 2000 with little discussion or debate, to more recent resolutions in support of the proposed Colombia, Panama and Korea Free Trade Agreements, ALEC has consistently urged its members to support a radical "free trade" agenda. This free trade agenda has cost America millions of jobs as factories closed and moved overseas in search of cheaper labor. Since 2001, an estimated 2.4 million American jobs have been lost to China alone. Now a diverse array of service sector jobs, from accounting and tax preparation to health care and credit card servicing are being off-shored under these agreements. Such free trade agreements also allow public health, consumer, environmental and worker safety rules to be challenged as "barriers to trade" in trade tribunals that operate outside the constraints of U.S. law.

ALEC has also been a major promoter of the U.S. tobacco industry, which seeks to hook new generations of smokers on their products around the world. Reynolds Tobacco was the corporate co-chair of the International Relations Task Force of ALEC. ALEC has a trade resolution specifically targeting the European Union ban on Snus, a moist tobacco product often marketed to the young with fruit flavors. Reynolds produces Camel Snus in four flavors and is not happy that this dangerous product is banned in most of Europe. Note that ALEC maintains a list of "International Delegates," which are elected government officials around the world.

ALEC Resolution Text

WHEREAS, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) policy on Free Trade acknowledges "the imposition of artificial barriers to free and open trade... are deterrents to American economic interests."; and

WHEREAS, the current administration described Pakistan as "one of the most critical nations in the world"; and

WHEREAS, success in the battle against the violent radicalism that threatens Pakistan's stability and US strategic interests in the region requires a strong civil society, private-sector employment and sustainable economic growth; and

WHEREAS, ALEC commends the current administration's recognition that expanded trade and economic cooperation would complement security efforts the United States and Pakistan have launched in the region; and

WHEREAS, US tariffs on textiles unfairly undermine Pakistan's ability to compete in the American market; and

WHEREAS, exports to the United States often bring five times the capital to developing countries than that received through direct investment by American companies, remittances from family members abroad, charitable donations and foreign aid combined, making this an efficient way to foster economic growth; and

WHEREAS, promoting economic strength in developing economies results in the creation of new markets for US goods; and

WHEREAS, the current American tariff system tends to favor goods produced by more developed economies and exacts high tariffs on clothes, shoes and other "light" goods produced by less developed economies; and

WHEREAS, Pakistan faces average tariff rates that are 10-20 times higher than those imposed on products from more wealthy countries and is subject to higher actual tariff penalties than those on goods from countries like the UK, France, Russia and Saudi Arabia; and

WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced in Congress which authorizes the President to designate an area within Pakistan as a Reconstruction Opportunity Zone (ROZ) and proclaim duty-free treatment from certain articles (including certain textile and apparel articles) that are imported to the United States from Pakistan; and

WHEREAS, the establishment of ROZs in Pakistan will spur sustainable economic growth in the region thus promoting liberty, limited government, freedom, and free markets in this nation - all of which will help to thwart the recurring threat of extremist violence in Pakistan;s most volatile regions; and

WHEREAS, the establishment of ROZs will allow for the free flow of goods between these sections of Pakistan and the United States, thus benefiting American businesses which will be able to enter the market without government hinderance.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that ALEC calls on Congress to use trade policy as a tool to promote stability and counter radicalism in Pakistan by enacting legislation to create ROZs in Pakistan that would allow certain good produced in the following areas to enter the US duty free: Bahawalpur, D.G. Khan, Jhang and Muzafargarh in Punjab; Badin, Jacobabad, Khairpur, Sanghar, Tharparkar and Thatta in Sindh; Bunir, D.I. Khan, Hangu, Lower Dir, Swat, Upper Dir and South Waziristan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; and Gwadar, Kalat, Kharan and Sibi in Balochistan; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that legislation passed by Congress include among duty free imports from Pakistan, cotton goods as these products account for more than 27% of all US imports from Pakistan; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that legislation passed by Congress omit labor-related criteria that would deter companies from investing in Pakistan; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the President of the United States, the the Chairman and Ranking members of the U.S. Senate Finance and U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committees, to the U.S. Trade Representative, to the Secretary of Commerce, and to the Secretary of State.