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June 28, 2018 11:14am

GLI urges a shift in course in current U.S. trade policies

In letters to the White House and members of the Greater Louisville congressional delegation, GLI urged a shift in course for current U.S. trade policy.

“While GLI strongly supports policies that ensure fairness in international trade and function to modernize and improve past agreements with our trade partners, tariffs serve only to close off markets, raise taxes on American workers and businesses, and threaten trade wars,” the letters stated.

The letters went on to explain the close connections between our regional economy and the global market:

“Distilleries headquartered in Greater Louisville send their bourbon and spirits to far-flung destinations around the globe. Logistics companies ship into our area goods produced in all corners of the world and ship out goods produced right here. Manufacturers, meanwhile, source materials from Europe, the Americas, and Asia and assemble them into automobiles and other items that drive our economy.

Perhaps one of the most startling reminders of the connections between our region’s economy and the global market is Louisville International Airport, the seventh-busiest airport in the world for cargo traffic, handling more than 2.6 million metric tons of cargo last year alone.  We’re outpacing metros like Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles and London.

At the end of the day, this flurry of activity translates to three basic things: good jobs, strong wages, and an unrivaled quality of life. But new and future tariffs put it all at risk.”  

This isn’t the first time that GLI has pushed back against protectionist trade policies and advocated for open, free, and fair trade. In fact, earlier this month GLI unveiled its 2018 Federal Agenda, which voiced opposition to “the imposition of tariffs or any approach to international trade that could bring harm to Greater Louisville businesses or limit access to global markets.” In May, GLI CEO & President Kent Oyler published an op-ed, arguing that our region’s success depended on open and free trade. Last October, GLI signed on to a letter to the White House along with more than 300 business associations reiterating our support for NAFTA and encouraging the administration to work with our international trade partners to modernize the agreement for today’s 21st century global economy.

Instead of pursuing high-cost, high-risk measures like tariffs, GLI encourages the Trump administration to come back to the table and engage in open discussions and good-faith negotiations with our allies and trade partners. Likewise, we call on our congressional delegation to do what they can to steer the White House in the right direction.

With so many pro-business policies coming out of Washington in the past 18 months—like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, funding for opioid treatment, and deregulation—now is the time for tearing down barriers to commerce, not putting up new ones.