Samsung's trade violations aren't putting 'America First'

Grassroots conservatives expected Democrats to oppose President Trump's pro-jobs and America First agenda, but much of the real opposition has come from his own party.  One must look only at an upcoming congressional hearing for proof of how difficult it is to protect American workers.

The president caused a stir when he put his top aides on the spot for not developing tougher trade sanctions against countries and companies that consistently violate our trade laws.  He followed that mandate by threatening to withdraw from an existing free trade deal with South Korea.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who watched Trump's campaign.  Many of us flocked to Trump because he was the only candidate in the 73-person field who actually talked about an issue that weighs heavily on working Americans: the migration of American jobs to lower-wage countries.

Steel workers in Pennsylvania, auto workers in Michigan, and textile workers in the South have all felt the sting of factory closures that resulted from corporate chieftains moving production to countries where they could pay workers a fraction of what they made in the U.S.  Foreign conglomerates, backed by their governments, accelerated that exodus by dumping foreign-made products in our market.

The result is a forgotten class of American workers who no longer have access to the kind of jobs that could buy a home, keep food on the table, and put children through college.  That life has disappeared with the jobs that made it possible.  Those hollowed out factory towns now breed the kind of drug-addiction and crime that once defined now-thriving American cities.  The reversal isn't lost on Trump-supporters.

That is why Trump energized so many of these Americans by vowing to fight back.  These workers have been steamrolled by globalization for too long, so they welcomed a politician willing to stick it to the corporate bigwigs who gave them a raw deal.  Now that Trump is president, they expect him to follow through on those promises to restack the deck in favor of American workers.

Not everyone sees it that way.  South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman, a newly elected Republican, will appear before a government panel this week to defend indefensible behavior by two South Korean conglomerates that epitomize the bad behavior undercutting American workers.  Norman, who was just elected in June, testified on behalf of Samsung and LG, two companies that have repeatedly violated U.S. trade laws to undercut American workers.

Samsung's and LG's bad behavior is well documented at this point.  Most Americans know Samsung for its exploding cell phones and the corruption scandal it bankrolled back in South Korea.  What people may not know is that Samsung and LG have been systemically undermining American appliance-makers by selling products at artificially low prices to steal market share from the U.S. manufacturers of those products.

The U.S. government has already found both companies in violation of U.S. trade law.  Each time, the government imposed trade sanctions to prevent future cheating.  And each time, Samsung and LG spent hundreds of millions of dollars to move production to countries not covered by the trade sanctions, bouncing from Mexico and South Korea to China and then to Thailand and Vietnam.  This country-hopping is a direct assault on American workers.

Norman is new to Congress, so we shouldn't blame him for carrying either company's water.  In a desperate effort to avoid the wrath of President Trump, Samsung recently announced plans to open an appliance factory in Norman's home state of South Carolina.  Who knows if the company will actually build the facility?  The bigger concern is that they use it to put the finishing touches on products made abroad, only to slap an "American Made" sticker on the merchandise.

These repeated efforts to avoid U.S. trade law are exactly the kind of behavior Trump ran against and just the kind of trade violation our government should work to prevent.  That's not protectionism.  That's just smart policy, the kind of policy American workers desperately need to get a fair shot in the global economy.

Edward Woodson is a lawyer and now host of the nationally syndicated Edward Woodson Show, which airs daily from 3 to 6 P.M. EST on gcnlive.com.

Grassroots conservatives expected Democrats to oppose President Trump's pro-jobs and America First agenda, but much of the real opposition has come from his own party.  One must look only at an upcoming congressional hearing for proof of how difficult it is to protect American workers.

The president caused a stir when he put his top aides on the spot for not developing tougher trade sanctions against countries and companies that consistently violate our trade laws.  He followed that mandate by threatening to withdraw from an existing free trade deal with South Korea.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who watched Trump's campaign.  Many of us flocked to Trump because he was the only candidate in the 73-person field who actually talked about an issue that weighs heavily on working Americans: the migration of American jobs to lower-wage countries.

Steel workers in Pennsylvania, auto workers in Michigan, and textile workers in the South have all felt the sting of factory closures that resulted from corporate chieftains moving production to countries where they could pay workers a fraction of what they made in the U.S.  Foreign conglomerates, backed by their governments, accelerated that exodus by dumping foreign-made products in our market.

The result is a forgotten class of American workers who no longer have access to the kind of jobs that could buy a home, keep food on the table, and put children through college.  That life has disappeared with the jobs that made it possible.  Those hollowed out factory towns now breed the kind of drug-addiction and crime that once defined now-thriving American cities.  The reversal isn't lost on Trump-supporters.

That is why Trump energized so many of these Americans by vowing to fight back.  These workers have been steamrolled by globalization for too long, so they welcomed a politician willing to stick it to the corporate bigwigs who gave them a raw deal.  Now that Trump is president, they expect him to follow through on those promises to restack the deck in favor of American workers.

Not everyone sees it that way.  South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman, a newly elected Republican, will appear before a government panel this week to defend indefensible behavior by two South Korean conglomerates that epitomize the bad behavior undercutting American workers.  Norman, who was just elected in June, testified on behalf of Samsung and LG, two companies that have repeatedly violated U.S. trade laws to undercut American workers.

Samsung's and LG's bad behavior is well documented at this point.  Most Americans know Samsung for its exploding cell phones and the corruption scandal it bankrolled back in South Korea.  What people may not know is that Samsung and LG have been systemically undermining American appliance-makers by selling products at artificially low prices to steal market share from the U.S. manufacturers of those products.

The U.S. government has already found both companies in violation of U.S. trade law.  Each time, the government imposed trade sanctions to prevent future cheating.  And each time, Samsung and LG spent hundreds of millions of dollars to move production to countries not covered by the trade sanctions, bouncing from Mexico and South Korea to China and then to Thailand and Vietnam.  This country-hopping is a direct assault on American workers.

Norman is new to Congress, so we shouldn't blame him for carrying either company's water.  In a desperate effort to avoid the wrath of President Trump, Samsung recently announced plans to open an appliance factory in Norman's home state of South Carolina.  Who knows if the company will actually build the facility?  The bigger concern is that they use it to put the finishing touches on products made abroad, only to slap an "American Made" sticker on the merchandise.

These repeated efforts to avoid U.S. trade law are exactly the kind of behavior Trump ran against and just the kind of trade violation our government should work to prevent.  That's not protectionism.  That's just smart policy, the kind of policy American workers desperately need to get a fair shot in the global economy.

Edward Woodson is a lawyer and now host of the nationally syndicated Edward Woodson Show, which airs daily from 3 to 6 P.M. EST on gcnlive.com.

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