Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act

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Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to enhance the competitiveness of American industry, and for other purposes.
Nicknames Agricultural Competitiveness and Trade Act of 1988
Enacted by the 100th United States Congress
Effective August 23, 1988
Citations
Public Law 100-418
Statutes at Large 102 Stat. 1107
Codification
Titles amended 19 U.S.C.: Customs Duties
U.S.C. sections created 19 U.S.C. ch. 17 § 2901 et seq.
Legislative history

The Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 is an act passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

History[edit]

During the 1970s, the American trade surplus slowly diminished and morphed into an increasing deficit. As the deficit increased through the 1980s, the blame fell on the tariffs placed on American products by foreign countries, and the lack of similar tariffs on imports into the United States. Workers, unions and industry management all called for government action against countries with an unfair advantage.

The Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act started as an amendment proposed by Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO) to order the Executive branch to thoroughly examine trade with countries that have large trade surpluses with the United States. If the trade surpluses continued, the offending country would be faced with a bilateral surplus-reduction requirement of 10%. Because of its style of zero-sum game thought, it is considered by economists to be a modern form of mercantilism. The act was signed into law by President Reagan, slightly less strict than proposed, as the Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. It expired in 1991 and was not renewed until 1994 by President Bill Clinton. It again expired in 1997 and was renewed once more by Clinton in 1999.

See also[edit]

References[edit]