CPA Urges Renegotiation of U.S. Bound Tariff Rates

Presses USTR Lighthizer to pursue broad reset of tariffs at WTO

Washington. The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer supporting a substantial renegotiation of bound tariffs set at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Specifically, CPA is urging Lighthizer to begin a GATT Article XXVIII process in order to fix massive tariff differences between the United States and other countries. Specifically, the U.S. maintains the lowest bound tariff rates in the world (at 3.4 percent) while other WTO countries maintain double-digit bound tariff rates.

“The WTO has allowed other countries to take advantage of us for decades, charging high tariffs even as the tariffs we impose are very low,” said CPA Chair Dan DiMicco. “It’s not fair for America’s workers and businesses to shoulder this anticompetitive burden. The United States must use its market leverage to pursue tariff fairness at the WTO.”

In its letter to Lighthizer, CPA cited WTO data showing that the United States maintains the lowest simple average (S.A.) bound tariff across all products—just 3.4 percent. Conversely, India has an S.A. tariff of 48.5 percent; Indonesia imposes 37.1 percent; Brazil has 31.4 percent; Turkey has 28.9 percent. CPA believes that if the U.S. can pursue tariff reciprocity from its free trade agreement partners, it should insist on the same treatment at the WTO. CPA also believes that, to the extent that tariff unfairness is accepted for trade and development goals, the appropriate mechanism is the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, not a schedule of concessions in Geneva.  

“The United States gave up leverage long ago by unilaterally agreeing to low tariff rates,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA. “The result is more pressure to offshore industries and lose good-paying jobs. We’re asking Ambassador Lighthizer to fix this mistake.”

CPA advocates a ‘Made in America 2030’ plan to rebuild economic and national security.

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