WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and U.S. Representative Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) yesterday led a bipartisan, bicameral letter supporting the growth of Pennsylvania manufacturing jobs. The letter encourages U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to improve the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement by negotiating an accelerated elimination of specific automotive tariffs impacting Mack Trucks, Inc. 

“Mack Trucks is an iconic Pennsylvania brand whose ability to grow and create jobs is partly dependent on its ability to exports its products from Allentown to other parts of the world,” Sen. Toomey said. “Therefore, it’s critical for jobs here at home that the Trade Representative negotiate an elimination of these truck tariffs so that the trucks made here in Allentown are given the same access as those made in Mexico.”

“It’s no secret, especially in the Lehigh Valley, that Mack produces the highest quality trucks on the planet,” said Rep. Dent. “If provided a level playing field, Mack’s expanded access to the rapidly growing market in Colombia would help create new manufacturing jobs in the 15th District. It is imperative our trade representatives work to eliminate the current truck tariffs, which have placed Mack at a competitive disadvantage simply for maintaining American production.”

Mack Trucks, a manufacturing icon in the Lehigh Valley, assembles heavy duty engines and trucks solely in the United States for the North American market. Mack products exported to Colombia currently face a tariff of 15 percent, which provides a distinct advantage to the company’s competitors assembling in and exporting from Mexico.

Under the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, the current 15 percent tariff on various automotive exports, such as heavy duty tractors, will be eliminated upon implementation of the pact. However, the tariff affecting straight trucks (mixers, dumps, concrete pumps, water and fuel trucks, and smaller tractors) will phase out incrementally over a 10 year period. By contrast, tariffs on Colombian exports of similar products will be eliminated immediately.

A copy of the letter is available here.