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G20: All Access - Twin Tiers Lawmakers Weigh In
Written By: Jacqueline Policastro
ST. PETERSBURG - This week’s G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia is the first time since the “great recession” that world leaders are dealing with an economy that is stable enough to allow them to engage in talks that could actually lead to reform.
The G20 agenda is wide-ranging, but our local lawmakers have their own ideas of what will have the biggest impact.
“We deal with the world economy,” said Southern Tier Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY). “And even though we may sometimes feel in Western New York that we’re not impacted by the world economy, we are.”
Here are the goals for this year’s G20 Summit: growth through quality jobs and investment, trust and transparency, and effective regulation.
Reed says the U.S. must participate in a real way, pushing hard on the issues that impact our workers and the economy.
“We need to be competitive, that’s why we need to enforce these trade rules vigorously. Forums like the G20 allow us to bring the issues to the table, and tell these countries, if you engage in world trade, you have to follow the rules, and we’re going to hold you accountable to them,” said Reed.
G20 nations make up two-thirds of the world’s population and 80-percent of international global trade. But the group of leaders is thought to be small enough to still be an effective decision-making body.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said, “[The U.S.] has to be very direct in confronting their counterparts in other countries where there’s cheating and manipulation and an effort to undermine our workers.”
Casey says the U.S. needs to learn from our mistakes. He points to the steel, garment, and tool and die industries – entire plants and generations of workers that were wiped out but unfair foreign competition.
“We don’t have, in my judgment, a real United States trade policy,” said Casey. “And if you don’t have a policy, you go into trade discussions and agreements at a disadvantage.”
Our lawmakers say our strength as a nation lies in our workforce and ability to innovate. They’re hopeful with a better trade policy and aggressive enforcement of international regulations that our economy will change. And it all starts at the G20, this week in St. Petersburg.
President Obama will attend the G20, despite tensions with Russia and amid an escalating situation in Syria. The White House says the president will remain focused on the types of discussions our local lawmakers say are imperative our economy in the Twin Tiers on track.