Big Business Lobbies for Importers

Source: Robert E. Scott, Economic Policy Institute, January 2009

Multinational companies such as General Electric and Caterpillar, and their allies in the Chamber of Commerce, are attacking “Buy American” provisions included in the economic recovery bill passed by the House on January 28th.  They claim that these provisions will provoke a “trade war” with foreign governments, but foreign governments have long histories of supporting their own domestic companies.  These companies are self-interested, simply wanting unlimited access to imports, many of which are illegally subsidized and unfairly traded.  U.S. and foreign multinational companies (MNCs) were responsible for nearly two-thirds of all U.S. imports in 2006, as shown in the chart below.  U.S. firms led the way with $678 billion in imports, 36.4% of all U.S. goods imports.  Foreign MNCs pulled in an additional $482.4 billion in goods, 25.6% of the U.S. import bill.  

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