Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced the Trade Preference Reform and Worker Protection Act to prioritize American workers by halting nonreciprocal trade benefits until the unemployment rate in the United States is below four percent. Senator Hawley’s bill will also prevent nations from receiving special trade benefits if they are suspected of exporting goods produced by slave labor.

"Trade programs should protect American workers and help their families to prosper, not benefit foreign nations or mega-corporations. Yet, for decades our trade policy has decimated millions of American jobs. It’s time to put workers at the center of our trade policy."

Senator Josh Hawley

Background

In the Trade Act of 1974, Congress authorized the creation of a trade preference program, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which offers tariff-free access to the American market on imports from designated developing nations, to help spur their economic development. In 2018, nearly $24 billion worth of imports arrived in the United States duty-free under this program, while American producers received no comparable trade benefit in return.

The Trade Preference Reform and Worker Protection Act would:

  • Extend trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences only if the unemployment rate in the United States is below four percent
  • Automatically suspend trade benefits under the GSP if the unemployment rate rises above four percent
  • Exclude any nation from receiving benefits that has been designated by the Department of Labor as suspected of exporting goods produced by forced labor or child labor
Issues