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Higgins, Huizenga & Castor lead push to lift pandemic-related travel restrictions

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Wed, Jul 7th 2021 03:05 pm

75 members of Congress call for science-based strategy to safely reopen international travel to US

Congress members Brian Higgins, Bill Huizenga (MI-2) and Kathy Castor (FL-14) are leading a bipartisan push encouraging the Biden administration to take steps to safely reopen international travel to the U.S.

In a letter to Biden, signed by 75 members of the House of Representatives, congressional leaders lay out action items including reopening the land border between the U.S. and Canada: “Both governments should follow the science and drop all travel restrictions for travelers between the United States and Canada who are fully vaccinated travelers or provide proof of a negative PCR test.”

Higgins and Huizenga serve as co-chairs of the Canada-U.S. interparliamentary group.

The letter also calls for reestablishing travel between the U.S. and the U.K., pointing to the “significant progress made by both countries in vaccinating citizens.” Working groups have been established to hammer out details related to the lifting of travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada as well as between the U.S. and U.K. However, no announcements have been made relative to guidelines or a timeline for implementation.

In addition, members want the administration to increase processing capacity for tourism and business visas. They noted, “As of April 8, 2021, just 57 of 237 visa processing sites were fully operational and 76% of consulates are either fully or partially closed to routine visa processing.”

The leaders point out the economic consequences of slow or no action, writing, “Prior to the pandemic, international inbound travel to the U.S. contributed $234 billion in export income to the U.S. economy, generated a trade surplus of $51 billion, and directly supported 1.2 million American jobs. However, the steep decline in travel in 2020 resulted in the loss of $150 billion in export income. If nothing is done to lift entry restrictions, the U.S. is projected to lose 1.1 million jobs and an additional $175 billion by the end of this year.”

The U.S. implemented travel restrictions in early 2020 in response to health concerns related to the global pandemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates it is now safe for fully vaccinated individuals to safely resume many activities, including travel.

Statement by Higgins on International Trade Commission ruling

Higgins released the following statement in response to the recent U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) ruling that found four countries were selling tires at uncompetitive or subsidized prices:

“The recent ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission is a resounding win for global competitiveness that will help our hardworking tire industry employees. Going forward, the new rates will serve to protect U.S. jobs and help ensure our steelworkers at Sumitomo tires can continue their great work unhindered by unfair trade practices.”

Higgins’ press release stated, “In response to antidumping and countervailing duty petitions filed by the United Steelworkers against Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, the ITC ruled the four countries were, in fact, selling dumped or subsidized passenger vehicle and light truck tires in a manner which was injurious to U.S. manufacturers. As a result of injury to the industry, the countries will be subject to new tariffs beginning July 7 that will offset the uncompetitive behavior.

“Higgins, who serves as a member of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on trade, has long stood up for U.S. jobs and steelworkers at Sumitomo tires in Tonawanda, advocating numerous times for their ability to compete in a fair market. In 2017, Higgins testified at an ITC hearing – and again in May 2021 – to speak out against unfair tire dumping practices. In June, Higgins lead House colleagues in a letter to the ITC chairman pushing for the commission to combat these unfair manufacturing practices and for U.S. companies and workers to receive a remedy to regain equal footing.”

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