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Managing the trade deficit: Report of the Congressional Trade Deficit Review Commission

Date: November 15, 2000

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An EPI panel discussion

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The United States suffers from a $400 billion trade deficit that could lead to rising unemployment and a hard landing for the U.S. economy. One year ago, Congress formed the Congressional Trade Deficit Review Commission to study the causes and consequences of this deficit and formulate policy recommendations.  Though the 12 Commissioners agreed on a primary goal — improving living standards for all Americans — they disagreed about how to achieve it.

Rather than simply relying on the WTO and the marketplace, half of the Commissioners have devised broad policy initiatives that would develop contingency plans in case of financial crisis; increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness; provide new rules for the global trading system, including enforceable labor rights and environmental standards in future trade agreements; improve oversight, monitoring, compliance, and enforcement of U.S. trading rights and agreements; and expand wage insurance, training, and adjustment assistance for displaced workers.

The commissioners will discuss these recommendations.

Featured panelists:

Honorable Byron Dorgan U.S. Senator, North Dakota

Honorable Paul Sarbanes U.S. Senator, Maryland

TDRC commissioners:

Dimitri Papadimitriou, president, Levy Economics Institute; TDRC Vice Chairman

Lester Thurow, professor of management & economics, MIT

George Becker, president, United Steel Workers of America

Discussants (fellow TDRC commissioners):

Dick D’Amato, delegate, State of Maryland Legislature

Ken Lewis, retired CEO of an international shipping company in Portland, Oregon

Mike Wessel, senior vice president, Downey McGrath Group

Moderated by Lawrence Mishel, vice president, EPI

This event was recorded on Wednesday, November 15, 2000 at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.