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Van Voohis: Going to Davos, Mr. Trump? Why not talk to India about taking U.S. jobs?

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As President Donald J. Trump descends on Davos this week, he’ll have the chance to meet with dozens of business and government leaders from around the world. This meeting is one of the best opportunities for the president to reinforce his fair trade agenda with our global trade partners, and there is no better place to start than with India.

While Trump’s rhetoric toward unfair Chinese trade policies is valid, India deserves just as much criticism for their new “Make in India” program.

The “Make in India” program has been lauded by the Indian government as a way to encourage investment in 25 key sectors of their economy, including electronics/IT, automobiles, aviation and pharmaceuticals, which opened the door to foreign investors. While this program may sound good on the surface, it continues to promote India’s antiquated protectionist policies that prevent many American goods from reaching Indian markets.

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This policy prescription favors companies who want to buy or manufacture goods in India, and targets those who want to sell in India. American companies who want to engage in the Indian economy face immense regulatory hurdles, which too often price them out of the market.

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Cliff-high tariffs range from nearly 50 percent to 113 percent on agricultural goods, according to the U.S. International Trade Administration: flowers, 60 percent, natural rubber, 70 percent, automobiles and motorcycles, 60 percent to 75 percent, raisins, 100 percent, alcoholic beverages, 150 percent, and textiles, some rates exceed 300 percent.

Further, imports are subject to state-level value-added or sales taxes and the Central Sales Tax, as well as various local taxes and charges. Additionally, India doesn’t make commerce easy by maintaining its infamously unresponsive and corrupt bureaucracy.

India is also one of the world’s most notable offenders against U.S. intellectual property rights. For example, India spends less than 1 percent of its GDP on healthcare, does not issue patents for U.S. medicines, and legislates price controls on medicines and medical devices. Meanwhile, the United States spends 18 percent of its GDP on healthcare and invents the vast majority of new medicines and medical devices—innovations that save and extend lives.

To make matters worse, The United States recently opened its market to Indian firms, whereas U.S. companies that invent medicines still are unable to access the Indian market. Additionally, American trade policy welcomes the import of Indian generics, 1 in 5 of which are likely to not be what sellers claim they are.

It is critical to maintain the U.S.-India trade relationship, and to ensure that India is open about the regulatory burdens it imposes on American companies. The “Make in India” program must be implemented in line with the basic tenets of free trade in the 21st century.

President Trump recently described India as a “leading global power” and asserted that in the future, he’ll work to deepen America’s strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in maintaining security in the Indo-Pacific region.

Big League Economics

As Biden Eyes “Transition Away” From Fossil Fuels, Pennsylvania is Second-Largest Natural Gas Producer in US

Destroying Pennsylvanian jobs.

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Joe Biden’s announcement that he plans on a “transition away” from the use of fossil fuels as an energy source may not go over smoothly with the people of Pennsylvania- a state that has scored as the second largest producer of natural gas anywhere in the country.

Joe Biden admitted at the Thursday debate that he plans to “transition away from the oil industry,” citing pollution.

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The United States Energy Information Administration identifies a considerable 20.0% of national natural gas production as coming from the state of Pennsylvania, making it the second biggest producer behind Texas. The state punches well above its weight in doing so, producing almost as much natural gas as Texas despite having less than half of its population.

Biden has sought to dismiss his track record of support for the banning of fracking oil extraction, employing a similar thinly veiled rhetorical trick by stating he’d only decline to allow any new fracking.

The energy industry continues to be a source of gainful, family-supporting employment for over ten million Americans. It’s not an option to “transition away” from the use of fossil fuels in the immediate future- a fact Biden tacitly admitted to after the debate suggestion, perhaps indicating that he realized the political folly of the statement.

A study from the American Petroleum Industry indicates that more than 322,000 Pennsylvanians are employed by the natural gas industry that Biden wants to transition away from.

Pennsylvania is shaping up as the most critical swing state in the election, and in nearly every plausible election night scenario the winner of the state’s 20 electoral votes secures the 270 needed to win the election.

Perhaps Joe Biden should transition away from national politics, and leave policy answers relating to carbon emissions, the environment and a strong energy industry to those more considerate of the role of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania and around the country.

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