WASHINGTON (TOLEDO NEWS NOW) - U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) are urging the Obama administration to stand up for glassware jobs in Toledo and Lancaster.
Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are scheduled to begin Thursday in Dallas. The products of the domestic glassware production sector have been placed in the category of import sensitive products for more than 30 years. Such items are manufactured at Libbey, Inc. in Toledo, and Anchor Hocking in Lancaster.
Brown and Portman have sent a letter urging United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk to continue his support of American glass jobs by maintaining tariffs on imported glassware products.
The letter is also signed by nine of their Senate and House colleagues.
Here is the content of the letter:
Dear Ambassador Kirk:
We are writing to you concerning the rules of origin that will determine the eligibility of products for preferential tariff treatment in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. We urge your continued support for the domestic glass tableware industry's import sensitive treatment. This issue is of crucial importance to workers in a number of states including Ohio, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania. The products of the domestic glassware production sector have been placed in the category of import sensitive products for more than 30 years. This treatment, and the tariffs that are in place, recognize the sensitivity of the sector and continue to be necessary. Now is not the time to deviate from treating the products of this sector in this manner particularly when our states urgently need more job growth.
Libbey, Inc. has U.S. glassware manufacturing locations in Toledo, Ohio and Shreveport, Louisiana. It has filed timely detailed comments with your office regarding TPP rules of origin for Glass Tableware (HTS 7013), Glass Stoppers (HTS 7010.20), and Glass Lamps and Lighting Fittings (HTS 9405) that should guide your negotiators in their activities. These concerns are shared by Anchor Hocking Co., which employs 1,600 workers in Lancaster, Ohio and Monaca, Pennsylvania.
We join in urging that the TPP preferential rules of origin for the listed glassware products should be objective, transparent, predictable, and effective in limiting preferential tariff treatment only for goods that are formed, finished, and packaged in TPP countries. The TPP market access negotiations should account for the import-sensitivity of these products. The TPP should be a force for progress that maximizes production and employment opportunities in the signatory countries while recognizing the specific trade posture of individual industries.
We look forward to working with you on this issue of importance to American workers in a highly labor-intensive sector.