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The Case for Open Global Capital Markets
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Press Release

The Case for Open Global Capital Markets

ABSTRACT: With the recent push towards globalization, restricting capital flow and the role of the International Monetary Fund have been hotly debated. Restricting capital flows has negative effects on both the investors and the receivers of the capital. With diminished access to capital, entreprenuers in less developed countries have difficulty getting started, thus depriving society of the benefits of new businesses. Improved capital flow would increase productivity, lessens risks of investment, stabilizes economies, and improves standards of living. The IMF’s role also needs to decrease to achieve a more efficient global economy. In the past, it has consistently bailed out international investors that make poor decisions, and it fails to sufficiently encourage economic reforms. Removal of the IMF as a ‘lender of last resorts’ would encourage more efficient use of capital and investments. It would also encourage countries not getting much investment to reform their system, creating a better environment for investment, and consequently promoting economic growth. Through a global capital market, the world can experience massive economic growth, improving the situations of people in all countries.

03/15/2001
Bipartisan Group of Representatives Re-Introduces Resolution to End Softwood Lumber Agreement
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Bipartisan Group of Representatives Re-Introduces Resolution to End Softwood Lumber Agreement

Forty-nine members of Congress, led by Congressmen Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), today, introduced a concurrent resolution calling for the end of the U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement of 1996 (SLA) when it expires on April 1 of this year. The House Concurrent Resolution (bill number to be assigned later today) calls for the termination of the SLA "with no extension or further quota agreement." It is patterned after a similar resolution introduced in the last session of Congress, which gained 119 House sponsors. The SLA was signed in 1996 to restrict lumber shipments from Canada to the U.S. It is opposed by a growing list of consumer groups, trade organizations, and companies. Opponents have formed an ad-hoc alliance, American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), which represents more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood consumption. Industries that depend on lumber as an input and that oppose import restrictions include: manufacturers of value-added wood products, lumber dealers, home builders and remodeling contractors. These industries employ more than 6.5 million workers. Congressmen Kolbe and Hoyer, the resolution's chief sponsors, charged that the SLA is hurting Americans who are seeking to enter the housing market. "The Softwood Lumber Agreement has had an adverse impact on the U.S. economy," Kolbe said. "While it panders to a few special interests, it is devastating to consumers, particularly, young American families trying to purchase their first home. By restricting the supply of finished lumber, it artificially and unnecessarily raises the average cost of a new home by up to $1,000. For many young couples starting a new family, that can be the difference between being able or unable to make a down payment on a home or qualify for a home mortgage." With the $1,000 price increase, approximately 300,000 families, an estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, are unable to qualify for a mortgage, preventing then from buying their first home. "The U.S. Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement of 1996 was intended to provide free trade, however it apparently has had the opposite effect, said Representative Hoyer. This agreement is directly affecting consumers by increasing marketplace volatility for consumers of lumber products," Hoyer went on to say. In addition to the House action, a bipartisan group of U. S. Senators introduced Senate Con. Res. 4 two weeks ago, calling for termination of the SLA.

02/28/2001
National Manufactured Housing Group Joins Alliance Seeking to End U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement
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National Manufactured Housing Group Joins Alliance Seeking to End U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), which represents 40-plus small and medium producers of manufactured homes throughout the United States, has joined the American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an ad-hoc alliance of 15 consumer groups, trade organizations and companies that represent more than 95 percent of softwood lumber consumption in the U.S. MHARR focuses on regulatory issues that impact the manufactured housing industry. ACAH supports an end to the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement of 1996 (SLA) when it expires on April 1. The SLA restricts lumber shipments from Canada to the United States. "This misguided agreement has done damage to producers and increased costs to consumers of manufactured housing," said Danny D. Ghorbani, president and CEO, MHARR. "The restrictions the SLA places on softwood lumber coming into the United States is increasing prices of manufactured homes and keeping prospective buyers from purchasing a home," Ghorbani continued. "Many of these families are the young, elderly, and people trying to purchase their first home or one for retirement. While the SLA benefits a few special interests, it clearly is depriving too many people from the American Dream of home ownership." Ghorbani urged the government to allow the SLA to expire without any new agreement. "It has out-lived its usefulness," he charged. "This country thrives on free trade which creates more jobs and allows more people to benefit from a strong economy." Free trade with our neighbors in Canada should be our highest priority; free trade in products such as lumber is important to our economy." Other members of the ACAH include: Abitibi Consolidated Sales Corporation, CHEP USA, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

02/20/2001
America’s Record Trade Deficit
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Press Release

America’s Record Trade Deficit

ABSTRACT FROM CATO

02/09/2001
Bipartisan Group Re-Introduces Senate Resolution Calling For End to Quotas on Lumber From Canada
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Bipartisan Group Re-Introduces Senate Resolution Calling For End to Quotas on Lumber From Canada

The following has been announced today by American Consumers for Affordable Homes:

01/30/2001
PNTR Letter to Congress
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Press Release

PNTR Letter to Congress

March 21, 2000 Dear Member of Congress: International trade promotes individual and economic freedom at home and abroad. Therefore, on behalf of the 250,000 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy, I urge you to support permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with the People’s Republic of China. By supporting PNTR, you are demonstrating your support for American consumers, farmers, and business owners.

01/01/2001
Hispanic Contractors Association Joins Affordable Housing Group, Opposes Softwood Lumber Pact
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Hispanic Contractors Association Joins Affordable Housing Group, Opposes Softwood Lumber Pact

The United States Hispanic Contractors Association, the fastest growing Hispanic business association in the U.S. with more than 130,000 members in 15 states, has joined the American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an ad hoc alliance of 14 other major associations and companies working to assure that the U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) ends in three months. "Market volatility for lumber prices is an economic challenge for Hispanic contractors throughout the United States along with the millions of Americans they are trying to help reach the American dream of home ownership," said Frank Fuentes, chairman of the Hispanic Contractors Association. "Our organization's goal is to help Hispanics succeed in the construction industry, and the SLA is one of the largest roadblocks we are now facing," Fuentes continued. "It simply doesn't make sense for our members, American families and the nation's economy. When families do not have appropriate housing, we all suffer-worker morale, the structure of our families and our communities. We need to end this bad trade policy at the earliest possible time. " By restricting the amount of lumber from Canada, the SLA results in the addition of about $50 to the price of 1,000 board feet of framing lumber and raises the cost of an average new home by $1,000, according to the National Association of Home Builders. As a result, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 300,000 families are priced out of the housing market each year. Even when lumber prices are down, the volatility and unpredictability of lumber prices and supply for framing homes, caused by this failed policy, directly harms contractors, who cannot control their costs, Fuentes noted. The SLA, entered into in 1996, is scheduled to end April 1, 2001, and ACAH is urging that it be allowed to expire without modification or extension. Other members of the ACAH include: Abitibi-Consolidated Sales Corporation; CHEP USA; Citizens for a Sound Economy; Coalition for Indian Housing and Development; Consumers for World Trade; Free Trade Lumber Council; Home Depot; International Mass Retail Association; Leggett & Platt, Inc.; Manufactured Housing Institute; National Association of Home Builders; National Black Chamber of Commerce; National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association; and the National Retail Federation.

12/18/2000
Big Sugar
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Big Sugar

BY James McNair

Like corn in Iowa, sugar cane grows tall, thick and green as money on the tamed swampland south of Lake Okeechobee.

09/23/2000
Cato Institute's Call to End U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Quotas Adds to Growing Chorus Citing Harm to U.S. Consumers
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Cato Institute's Call to End U.S./Canada Softwood Lumber Quotas Adds to Growing Chorus Citing Harm to U.S. Consumers

A summary report issued (today) by the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies calling for the end of the U.S./Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement adds to a growing chorus of U.S. consumers, businesses and other independent voices who say that the pact has resulted in higher lumber prices and harmed U.S. consumers. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are also on record in calling for the termination of the agreement when it is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2001. The Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) places restrictive limits on the amount of softwood lumber, used mostly in home construction, which can be imported from Canada. The Cato report, entitled, "Nailing the Homeowner - The Economic Impact of Trade Protection of the Softwood Lumber Industry," refutes a long list of myths that have been used by some U.S. producers to block imports. "A significant finding in the Cato report is that the U.S. consumer is the real victim of the SLA, resulting in a 20 to 35 percent hidden surcharge on the cost of lumber in a new home," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for the ad-hoc alliance, American Consumers for Affordable Homes. "The report concludes that it is unacceptable to have an agreement like the SLA penalize consumers." Petniunas applauded the Cato report as "providing a thoughtful third-party and independent analysis of the issues surrounding the SLA." The report says: "The best policy course is to simply let the SLA expire and not impose any new barriers." Concurrent resolutions in the U.S. House and Senate calling for the agreement to end have been endorsed by a growing list of congressional cosponsors. The Cato report says that after controlling for the effect of the strength of the economy, overall inflation and changes in timber supplies, "lumber prices are higher by between $50 and $80 per thousand board feet as a consequence of attempts to protect the U.S. softwood lumber industry." Cato's economic analysis says that these higher prices result in the addition of $800 to $1,300 to the cost of a new home. The Cato report notes that while softwood lumber producers claim that jobs would be in jeopardy without protection from Canadian wood, the number of workers in the lumber-using sectors outnumber logging and sawmill workers by 25 to 1. "The protectionist arguments in favor of the SLA is thus tantamount to saying that the commercial interests of a portion of one small industry outweigh those of many, much larger industries - not to mention the interests of millions of American home buyers." The Cato Institute was founded in 1977. It is a non-partisan public policy research foundation in Washington, D.C., "dedicated to broadening policy debate consistent with the traditional American principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace." ACAH represents more than 95 percent of the purchasers and users of softwood lumber in the U.S. Its members include: Abitibi-Consolidated, CHEP Equipment and Pooling Systems, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Coalition for Indian Housing and Development (formerly the National American Indian Housing Council), Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, and the National Retail Federation. The Cato report is available at http://www.freetrade.org/pubs/pas/tpa- 011.pdf The ACAH web site provides more information on this issue at http://www.acah.org.

07/10/2000
WTO Report Card
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Press Release

WTO Report Card

ABSTRACT FROM CATO

04/30/2000

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