Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to the communiqué issued today by the G-20 meeting of global leaders:
“In this grave and global economic crisis, I support the G-20’s call for countries to resist taking actions that would impose new beggar-thy-neighbor trade or investment barriers. History has provided few lessons as clear as that from the 1930s, which taught that new laws to increase tariffs or impose quotas and similar measures at a time of instability and uncertainty will only deepen and lengthen a recession. I look forward to working with the Administration to restore stability and growth to the United States and global economies and to avoid enacting new laws that would be counterproductive to that effort.
“At the same time, officials and commentators should not conflate legitimate governmental actions with ‘protectionism.’ For example, enforcement of product and safety standards based on sound science and valid safety concerns is not protectionism. Enforcement of trade remedy laws consistent with WTO rules is not protectionism. Providing subsidies through direct government spending for domestic production consistent with WTO rules is not protectionism. These actions, consistent with and constrained by detailed multilateral rules, simply cannot be compared to protectionist measures like unilaterally raising tariffs, whether or not from levels below tariff bindings; imposing arbitrary new licensing restrictions; or similar measures.”