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CEA Decries Protectionist Provisions In Stimulus Bill

Arlington, Va. — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) today expressed “deep disappointment” with protectionist trade provisions that Congress kept in the final version of the economic stimulus package.

The so-called “Buy American” provisions require use of United States iron, steel and manufactured goods in public works projects funded by the stimulus bill, which awaits final passage before being sent to President Obama to sign into law.

In a statement, CEA president/CEO Gary Shapiro said the provisions “will signal to our trading partners around the world that the United States is returning to the bad old days of protectionism and economic nationalism. Rather than stimulate the American economy, these provisions will lead to retaliation from abroad and cost precious jobs in the United States.

“The promise that the ‘Buy American’ provisions keep with the letter of World Trade Organization commitments is a meaningless gesture — it contradicts recent statements by both President Obama and G-20 leaders to avoid protectionism, which exacerbate the global economic crisis,” he said.

“The lessons of Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression are clear — if we close our borders to international trade and artificially prop up our own industries, we deepen the global recession and further make ourselves vulnerable to a trade war.”

CEA cited the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a nonpartisan think tank, which estimated that the provisions could cost as many as 65,000 U.S. jobs, far outweighing the number that would be created by the stimulus package.