North Carolina lost 400,000 manufacturing jobs between 2001 and 2015, or nearly 50 percent. As I travel the 9th Congressional District, I regularly pass abandoned factories and the struggling communities left behind.
Manufacturing is vital to North Carolina’s economy. Yet overseas competition, unfair trade practices, and unnecessary regulations have caused a great loss in manufacturing and our overall economy. This cannot continue.
Surprisingly, some in the mainstream media chose to mock President Trump’s “Made in America Week.” Apparently, the liberal elite doesn’t realize the heart and soul of America’s economy lies in America’s workers, American products, and the incredible American work ethic. We should honor those who proudly stamp “Made in USA” on their products.
How did we get here?
In recent decades, America opened its doors to globalization. As a supporter of free and fair trade, I understand global trade can lead to the more efficient allocation of resources, leading to higher levels of production, leading to more jobs and more wealth for both countries.
At least, that’s the way it should work, if everyone played by the rules.
Unfortunately, China’s communist government has a strong track record of distorting market forces through government subsidies, preferential loans, and currency manipulation. As a result, in 2016, U.S. exports to China were only $116 billion while imports from China were $463 billion.
Last fall, I successfully argued that China should not be granted “Market Economy Status,” which would have made it even easier for China to manipulate our economy. Currently, I’m working with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) on legislation to increase scrutiny of Chinese investment in the United States.
Trade agreements, such as NAFTA, must also be carefully reexamined, and renegotiated if necessary, to promote free and fair trade. President Trump is right that America is currently subject to too many “bad deals.” We don’t need to shut the door on world trade, but we do need to ensure American workers are treated fairly.
This year in Congress, we’ve been working to loosen the overly-burdensome regulatory environment which has strangled manufacturers and small businesses alike. For example, President Obama’s “Dodd-Frank Act” imposed harmful regulations on manufacturers and stifled the local community banks that provided loans to grow and create jobs. Last month, I helped pass the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which properly regulates the financial system, protects consumers, and gives more freedom to manufacturers, small businesses, and community banks.
Another impediment to American manufacturing is our outdated tax code. Did you know American companies face the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world? Is it any wonder many look for opportunities overseas? To bring American companies back and allow them to thrive, it is vital we reform the tax code.
American workers are second to none. Working with President Trump, I am committed to supporting policies to level the playing field, eliminate unnecessary regulations, and enable American companies to hire more workers who proudly stamp “Made in the USA” on their products.
Town halls in August: My official title is “United States Representative.” This means my job is to represent you in Washington. To help me do my job effectively, please consider joining me for a town hall meeting this August.
Town halls are scheduled for Matthews (Aug. 28), Wingate (Aug. 29), Wadesboro (Aug. 30), Laurinburg (Aug. 30), Lumberton (Aug. 30), Rockingham (Aug. 30), Fayetteville (Aug. 31t), and Elizabethtown (Aug. 31). For more information, please call my office at 704-362-1060. We hope you can join us for an open discussion on major issues facing our community and country.
Robert Pittenger, a Republican from Charlotte, represents the 9th District in the U.S. House, which includes all of Robeson County.