Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules, today introduced trade legislation that would eliminate U.S. trade tariffs for two raw materials, which would benefit local manufacturer Lonza (formerly Arch Chemicals) and the 158 employees who work at the local Rochester facility. Slaughter, the author of the Reciprocal Market Access Act, is an outspoken supporter of aggressive trade policies that support domestic manufacturing.
“I am dedicated to rebuilding manufacturing in Western New York,” Slaughter said. “On Wednesday, I secured $25 million so that local employers such as Delphi could continue valuable work inventing clean energy fuel cells, and today, I’m proud to introduce legislation that will benefit local manufacturer Lonza. By lowering costs for New York businesses, we can sustain and create local jobs in these tough economic times.
On Wednesday, Slaughter announced that she secured House Appropriations Committee approval of $25 million to continue advanced fuel cell research at the Department of Energy– a victory that will directly benefit local employer Delphi, which is one of several area organizations, including Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, Praxair and GM that are conducting fuel cell research. Today’s legislation would build on that success by eliminating the tariff on two raw materials- butyl benzisothiazoline, and a mixture of butyl benzisothiazoline and zinc pyrithione. These raw materials are used by Lonza to produce ingredients key in the manufacturing of dandruff shampoos and bacteria resistant rubber used in nurses shoes. Lowering the tariffs on these raw materials would save Lonza more than $100,000 a year.
“Louise is a well known champion of leveling the playing field for American manufacturers like Lonza,” said Jim Bentinck-Smith, Lonza’s Rochester, New York Plant Manager. “This legislation will directly support Lonza’s Rochester facility and our 158 local employees. We are pleased to have a Representative like Louise working with us on this important issue.”
Slaughter’s bill will be considered for inclusion in a miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB), which is expected to be voted on by the end of the year. Since 1982, Congress has passed miscellaneous tariff bills in order to boost the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers by lowering the cost of imported inputs without harming domestic firms that produce competing products. In the case of finished goods, MTBs similarly reduce costs for consumers where there is no domestic production and thus no impact on domestic firms.
Slaughter has long fought for local manufacturers and the hundreds of people they employ. Earlier this year, Slaughter hosted a roundtable with local small businesses and the US Export-Import Bank, so that business owners could learn how to access foreign markets.
Last year, Slaughter successfully included language in the National Defense Authorization Act to help ensure the Department of Defense radio procurement process is open to competition so that local manufacturer Harris RF has a fair shot to win the work.
Slaughter has joined forces with local manufacturer Hickey Freeman, to cut unfair wool tariffs, and has also helped local manufacturer Firth Rixson by successfully leading the effort to remove restrictions on importing titanium- a raw material integral to the company’s aerospace work.
Slaughter is the author of the Reciprocal Market Access Act, a bill that receives support from both the local business community and labor organizations. The legislation would change the process for negotiating and enforcing US free trade agreements, so that American manufacturers can combat unfair trade practices from foreign countries and competitors.