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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
Trade, Jobs, and Manufacturing
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Press Release

Trade, Jobs, and Manufacturing

ABSTRACT FROM CATO Imports, contrary to popular opinion, have no negative effects on the overall employment level, and most Americans do not work in sectors that face competetion from imports. By trading for goods that can be produced at a relatively cheaper price abroad, the United States must focus on producing goods and services that can be produced at a relatively cheaper price domestically. Therefore, trade encourages investment in those sectors with higher worker productivity, and consequently, higher wges and salaries. Most Americans work in service sectors that face little or no import competition, and for them, imports give more choice for consumers, encourage innovation, and raise wages. Workers in manufactoring and farming sectors that have some import competition make up a small percentage of total workers. In fact, technology and other factors caused more lost jobs than imports did. Trade barriers do not save jobs, and thus policy should encourage creating new jobs.

09/30/1999
The Blessings of Free Trade
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Press Release

The Blessings of Free Trade

ABSTRACT FROM CATO

05/01/1998
Capitol Comment 177 - The U.S. Should Bail Out of the IMF
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 177 - The U.S. Should Bail Out of the IMF

If the U.S. Congress approves bailing out the financially troubled Asian nations and replenishing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for future bailouts, American taxpayers will be footing the bill for the mistakes of other countries.

03/06/1998
Issue Analysis 66 - The Sanctification of Sanctions
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Press Release

Issue Analysis 66 - The Sanctification of Sanctions

The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered at a Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation "Congressional Staff Education Luncheon" on September 15, 1997.

10/30/1997
The Fast Track to Freer Trade
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Press Release

The Fast Track to Freer Trade

ABSTRACT FROM CATO

10/30/1997

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