WASHINGTON D.C. - March 26, 2009 - Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Science and Technology Committee today wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk asking him to clarify the Obama administration's position on emissions-related trade policy.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the United States was considering adjusting trade duties to protect domestic manufacturers if China did not change its position on reducing emissions. If created poorly, trade wars could put tens of thousands of American workers out of work.
On March 17, in testimony before the Science and Technology Committee, Chu laid out the fundamentals of what will happen under a cap-and-trade proposal, including the concept that the United States will have to impose duties on imported goods from some countries.
“To our knowledge, Secretary Chu’s comments represented the first public statement by an Obama administration official that the United States is contemplating duties or tariffs on imported goods manufactured in countries that do not participate in emissions reduction schemes,” the lawmakers wrote. “Given the direct role you and your staff would have in any administration policy making on trade matters, we would appreciate your assistance in clarifying administration policy.”
The lawmakers who wrote to Kirk were: U.S. Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Ralph Hall, R-Texas, ranking member of the House Science and Technology Committee, Greg Walden, R-Ore., ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and Paul Broun, R-Ga., ranking member of the Science and Technology Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee.
A copy of the letter can be found here.